Chicago White Sox: 3 New York Mets free agents to consider
The outfield is an area of concern going into 2022 for the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox’s most pressing need this offseason outside of a second baseman is a right fielder. Micheal Conforto is on the market and he could provide the stability for a position that has plagued the White Sox in recent years.
Conforto is 28 years old and has an estimated market value of just over $19 million. He just rejected the Mets $18.4 million and looks to be on his way out of New York. Conforto struggled in 2021 but has a good track record. From 2019-2020 he slashed .274/.376/.499.
Those numbers were 35 percentage points above the league average by the measure of wRC+, which calculates weighted runs created. That was also good enough to rank in the top 20 of qualified MLB hitters. In 2017 he made the National League All-Star team after posting a .279 average to go along with 28 home runs. In 2019 he hit a career-best 33 home runs.
But Conforto struggled in 2021. He only hit 14 home runs in 479 plate appearances. His batting average dropped to .232, the worst of his career since 2016. Because of Conforto’s struggles, he could come at a reasonable price this offseason depending on how the rest of the market views him. He, however, is a Scott Boras client so don’t bank on it.
For the White Sox, he could be worth the risk because of some promising signs that suggest a bounceback year in 2022. He had a career-low 21.7% strikeout rate. With the White Sox, he would be surrounded with lineup protection and play in a hitter-friendly ballpark that should help his power numbers.
Teams that sign Conforto will also lose at least one draft pick and potentially some international bonus pool money. That could scare some suitors away. Rick Hahn indicated that he does not care about losing a draft pick because he did not extend a qualifying offer to Carlos Rodon.
Had he done so, the White Sox would have gained a complimentary draft pick when Rodon rejected the offer. Conforto presents a solid option for the White Sox outfield, if the White Sox can get him for under $20 million he is definitely worth taking a serious look at.