Michael Conforto to decline Mets’ qualifying offer

Michael Conforto Mets
Michael Conforto
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Right fielder Michael Conforto is expected to decline the New York Mets’ qualifying offer for the 2022 season and will opt to test free agency, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan

The 28-year-old is coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro, which just so happened to be in his contract year, slashing .232/.384/.729 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs. 

It all but shattered any hope of getting a mega-deal that was once possible, especially after he posted a .927 OPS during the shortened 2020 season. In 467 games from 2017-2020, Conforto slashed .265/.369/.495 (.864 OPS) with 162-game averages of 34 home runs and 95 RBI, suggesting that he could be rewarded a contract flirting with $200 million. 

Conforto’s representation obviously believes that he can still get a big-time multi-year deal — whether it be from the Mets or another team — as they turned down the qualifying offer that would have been worth $18.4 million in 2022. The hope will be that teams around Major League Baseball view 2021 as an anomaly, much like a dismal 2016 season in which he slashed .220/.310/.414 (.725 OPS) with 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 109 games. 

Extending the qualifying offer suggests that the Mets are very much interested in bringing Conforto, a home-grown product that debuted in 2015, back. However, they do have other options to at least explore on the free-agent market. 

All-Star Nick Castellanos opted out of his contract with the Cincinnati Reds and is poised for a sizable payday after slashing .309/.363/.576 (.939 OPS) with 34 home runs and 100 RBI in 138 games in 2021. Granted, there are concerns with his defensive metrics.

Avisail Garcia, fresh off a 29 home-run, 86 RBI (.820 OPS) season with the Milwaukee Brewers is also on the market.

The Mets also extended a qualifying offer to starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who has until Nov. 17 to make a decision on whether or not to accept it.