Blaming Michael Conforto's struggles on COVID, Scott Boras talks 'extraordinary' interest and possible Mets return

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Michael Conforto rounds bases after a home run
Michael Conforto rounds bases after a home run

Speaking on Wednesday at the GM Meetings in California, Scott Boras discussed his client, Michael Conforto, saying that the interest level in him has been "extraordinary."

Boras also suggested that Conforto's early-season struggles were due to after-effects of COVID-19, and touched on a potential return to the Mets.

"Certainly we've seen from the interest level that everybody's understanding the COVID issue, what he had the first few months of the season," Boras told reporters. "And I think everybody understands who Michael is and what he means in terms of leadership to teams. And frankly, the interest level has been extraordinary."

Conforto had COVID-19 two weeks before reporting to spring training last season.

He struggled for the first four months or so of the season, dealing with a hamstring injury along the way.

Conforto hit .232/.344/.384 with 14 homers and 20 doubles in 125 games, but hit relatively well over the final 54 games of the season, slashing .271/.370/.453 with eight homers and nine doubles.

Asked whether Conforto was open to returning to the Mets, Boras largely demurred.

"I think that he's a free agent," he said. "When players become free agents, they know where they've been, they're getting an opportunity to understand where they can go, and then they have to make that decision."

Sep 30, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an RBI single during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.
Sep 30, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an RBI single during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

When asked specifically about Conforto's comments late in the season being a sign that his time with the Mets was coming to an end, Boras danced around the question.

"I don't know how you register his intent," Boras said. "He's open to obviously listening to the Mets and a number of other teams. He has a lot of meetings ahead of him, he really does."

Conforto, who will reject the one-year qualifying offer made by the Mets, is also not entering free agency expecting to have to sign a "pillow contract," which is typically a one-year deal that helps players rebuild value after down years.

"Michael Conforto is a National League East beast, he hits velo better than most, and he's a great defender," Boras said. "There are no teams that are coming to me suggesting that Michael's not gonna get probably similar to the same thing he would've gotten after the 2020 season. They all know who he is and they all know that what happened to him early in 2021, and it was kind of unrelated to his ability."