The Colorado Rockies and free agent outfielder Michael Conforto had been linked just a few weeks ago as a possible fit. However, the Rockies have since signed Kris Bryant and traded for Randal Grichuk to address their outfield and Conforto’s free agency, seemingly, had cratered.
After all, he is the only big free agent that has yet to sign. But his agent, Scott Boras, revealed why that has been the case on Wednesday.
Michael Conforto suffered an injury so could the Colorado Rockies still be in on him?
According to his agent Scott Boras (via multiple reports, including Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic), free agent outfielder Michael Conforto suffered a shoulder strain in January. That was in the middle of the lockout, when players and agents were not allowed to be in contact with teams and front offices, which is why we are only hearing about it now. But could the Colorado Rockies still be interested in Conforto?
With their two outfield additions, it is unlikely that the Rockies and Conforto will come together on a deal mainly because the Rockies, frankly, have too many outfielders without Conforto. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be interested in him.
Since Conforto may not be ready for Opening Day (as he just resumed hitting last week), the Rockies could start the season with him on the injured list and give themselves a little bit of time to determine which outfielders they wanted to put in Triple-A, designated for assignment, and/or trade.
The shoulder injury coupled with the late start could mean that Conforto will be little bit cheaper on the market. He is also tied with the qualifying offer so the Rockies would have to sacrifice a draft pick. But they also got a compensation draft pick from Boston since they signed Trevor Story.
Since they would be “losing” that draft pick, the Rockies may want to get two years on a deal for him but he could be well worth it.
Conforto, 29, hit .265/.369/.495 with an OPS+ of 134 from 2017 through 2020 with a 162-game average of 34 homers and 95 RBI in that span. His OPS in that span was .864, which would have been second only to C.J. Cron’s .905 on the 2021 Rockies.
In 2021, Conforto was out for part of the season with a hamstring injury but in 125 games, he hit .232/.344/.384 with an OPS+ of 101. Despite the drop in power, his OPS still would have been tied for the third-highest on the Rockies in 2021 with Brendan Rodgers. The OPS+ would have been fourth among the Rockies with at least 250 plate appearances.
MLB Trade Rumors predicted he would get a one-year deal for $20 million entering the offseason so perhaps a one-year deal for $15-$20 million with incentives that would trigger an option for a second-year at $20-$25 million would be something that could put the Rockies in the conversation.
After all, they did sign Kris Bryant, who is represented by Boras too so maybe the Rockies could try to really push the envelope this offseason and add Conforto. It’s unlikely to happen but they shocked the baseball world once with Bryant so why not do it again?