- Editor's Note: "Taking a chance on Michael Conforto is the right move for the White Sox" originally appeared on Sox on 35th. Tim Moran of Sox On 35th will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports Chicago's White Sox coverage for the 2022 season. You can read more of their coverage at SoxOn35th.com, and follow them on Twitter at @SoxOn35th.
No, it's not the 2021-2022 offseason anymore. Yes, the White Sox should still be interested in Michael Conforto.
After injuring his shoulder this January, then ultimately undergoing surgery in April, the hype around ex-Mets player Michael Conforto slowed down quite a bit. Not only was the injury concerning to MLB front offices, but the 29-year-old outfielder also had a compensatory pick attached to him, meaning any pre-draft signing would cost a team a 2022 draft pick. Needless to say, the earliest Conforto was getting signed was after July's draft. Conforto's agent, the well-known Scott Boras, admitted as such in a recent interview with The New York Post's baseball podcast: The Show. However, Boras also provided a key update: Conforto is progressing towards full hitting activity in September. CBS and The Athletic reporter Jim Bowden has confirmed multiple teams have interest, including the South Siders.
We are now a few weeks post-draft and Conforto, a career .255/.356/.468 hitter, is still unsigned. Meanwhile, the White Sox were unable to trade for any position players before Tuesday's deadline. While nothing is set in stone for Conforto's rehab, Rick Hahn and Co. would be smart to sign him if he proves to be healthy by early September.
What Contract Makes Sense?
Assuming Conforto would accept a very short deal, a one-year (one-month?) deal would likely be incredibly cheap—maybe a couple of million dollars for 2022, if that. A few years ago, Dallas Keuchel secured $21 million for about two-thirds of a season with the Atlanta Braves. Conforto, coming off surgery, would demand a fraction of that cost for roughly four weeks of regular season baseball. Notably, Craig Kimbrel took a similar path to Keuchel in 2019, but instead signed a three-year contract—which panned out poorly for the Chicago Cubs. General managers looking at that outcome will likely limit Conforto's market to one-year fliers, anyway. A one-year deal would make a lot of sense for the outfielder as well, as he could give MLB teams a shot to see him and gain confidence in his abilities before looking once more for a multi-year deal in the offseason.
Four weeks of baseball might sound like a waste, but the White Sox are likely to be within a game or two of the division lead throughout most of September. Any improvement is a monumental improvement at that point. If all goes well, playoff action would only make the signing even more of a steal too.
Finish the article and learn about how Conforto would fit on the White Sox over at soxon35th.com.