The case for and against Red Sox signing Michael Conforto

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The case for and against Red Sox signing Michael Conforto originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Red Sox are winging it in right field. Through the first week of the season, they've gone with an unusual platoon of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Arroyo at the position.

The issue is, regardless of whether it's Bradley or Arroyo in the lineup, the Red Sox have a glaring weakness. Bradley is a career .229 hitter coming off a .163 season and Arroyo entered 2022 with zero outfield experience at any professional level. Roll with Bradley, your offense suffers. Go with Arroyo, you have a defensive liability.

We've already seen this problem play out through the first six games of the season. Bradley is 2-for-15 to start the year and Arroyo's defense cost Boston a couple of runs in their series vs. the Detroit Tigers.

Sure, we can expect Arroyo's defense to improve with time, but is this really the plan the Red Sox want to stick to throughout the campaign?

Apparently, they're already considering an upgrade. Univision's Mike Rodriguez reported earlier this week the Red Sox reached out to free agent Michael Conforto. The former New York Mets right fielder is the top option remaining on the market, but is he the right fit for Boston?

Here's the case for and against signing Conforto to become the everyday Red Sox right fielder.

The case for signing Michael Conforto

The obvious plus to bringing in Conforto is he'd immediately answer the Red Sox' aforementioned questions in right field. He'd be a major upgrade over Bradley offensively and has 334 major league games under his belt at the position.

Conforto has a career slash line of .255/.356/.468 with 132 homers in 757 MLB games. The 29-year-old's All-Star potential was on display in 2017, when he blasted 27 homers and posted a .939 OPS.

He belted a career-high 33 homers in 2019 and in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, he tallied nine homers and 31 RBI with a .927 OPS in 57 games.

Along with his bat, Conforto brings defensive versatility. While he isn't a Gold Glover, he can be trusted in all three outfield spots. The seven-year veteran has played 259 games in left field and 146 games in center.

The case against signing Michael Conforto

So, if Conforto would provide an offensive boost and wouldn't be a defensive liability as the everyday right fielder, what's the holdup?

One of the biggest reasons Conforto has yet to find a team is he's tied to draft pick compensation. Since the Mets extended Conforto a qualifying offer early in the offseason, the club that signs him will have to give up a high draft pick. The Mets will receive a pick before the third round if Conforto signs a contract worth less than $50 million, and a pick after the first round if he signs a deal worth at least $50 million.

The high draft pick, plus the money Conforto is demanding in free agency, likely exceeds what Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox are willing to give up. Especially for a player coming off a down season. Conforto slashed an uncharacteristically low .232/.344/.384 with 14 homers through 125 games in 2021.

It also may not make much sense to add another left-handed outfield bat to the mix. The club already has two of those on the active roster in Bradley and Alex Verdugo, as well as a potential call-up in top outfield prospect Jarren Duran.

What's the verdict?

A one-year "prove-it" deal for Conforto could make a lot of sense for a Red Sox team in need of an answer in right field. If that's the cost, Chaim Bloom should pull the trigger.

But if signing Conforto to a more lucrative multi-year contract is the only option, Boston should pass. Spending top dollar and a high draft pick on a player coming off the worst season of his career would be bad business.