Report: Michael Conforto expected to opt out of SF Giants deal
Sep 26, 2023, 10:10 AM
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
As the San Francisco Giants’ disappointing finish to the 2023 season continues to unfold, all eyes will soon turn towards an offseason that could be full of changes in the Bay.
While some players like long-time shortstop Brandon Crawford could ride off into the sunset and enter retirement, there could be other shakeups to San Francisco’s roster this fall and winter.
One player who will impact Giants president Farhan Zaidi’s plans is outfielder Michael Conforto, who holds an opt-out option that he can exercise following this season.
According to The Athletic‘s Andrew Baggarly, San Francisco expects Conforto to opt out of his two-year, $36 million deal following this season and test free agency.
A second-half collapse. A lack of clubhouse accountability. An interim idea if Gabe Kapler takes the fall. Conforto’s opt-out. And an offseason strategy (trade young pitching for hitting) that is starting to take shape. Lotta ground covered here. https://t.co/cSOyvABcEe
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) September 22, 2023
The choices will be so limited that Giants officials are prepared for the eventuality that Michael Conforto will opt out of an $18 million salary in 2024 even though the 30-year-old outfielder has been a league-average hitter (101 OPS+) and, Thursday night’s wall-crashing catch in left field aside, has not graded out well defensively.
It’s expected that teams with a need for left-handed hitting, like the New York Yankees and perhaps the Dodgers, will give Conforto a little grace, understanding the difficulty of coming back after missing all of 2022 because of shoulder surgery.
Should the Giants seek a reunion with Michael Conforto this winter?
Conforto, 30, inked a two-year contract with the Giants in January after taking the 2022 season off to rehab a shoulder injury.
In his first season in San Francisco, Conforto holds a .245 batting average to go along with 15 home runs and 58 RBI over 121 appearances. During his time with the Giants, the 2017 NL All-Star has logged time in left field, right field, and designated hitter.
Considering that Conforto is a client of super-agent Scott Boras, it’s fair to expect that the outfielder will take his time as he goes through the free agent process in his final chance at securing a big payday.
When healthy, Conforto is a left-handed bat with pop and a decent eye in the batter’s box (52 walks in 2023). For Zaidi, the question of whether or not to pursue a reunion with the outfielder in free agency will be contingent on the other questions surrounding the roster.
Michael Conforto gives the Giants the lead in the bottom of the 8th!
📺: FS1 pic.twitter.com/T1erwYJy1u
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 26, 2023
Can San Francisco make an enticing pitch to superstar Shohei Ohtani? After striking out on Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and Carlos Correa in recent years, it’s hard to envision the Giants striking gold this offseason by signing Ohtani to a massive deal.
Conforto could become a priority for San Francisco this offseason as the outfield market looks incredibly thin.
Former MVP Cody Bellinger is expected to be the next big name on the board behind Ohtani, with other players like Teoscar Hernandez, Jorge Soler, fellow Giants outfielder Joc Pederson, and Harrison Bader hitting the free agent market in November.
Is Conforto the best option for San Francisco? It’s a hard question to answer, but it’s clear that the Giants have had a tough time attracting talent to the Bay Area.
If the asking price from Boras isn’t out of the ballpark, it wouldn’t be surprising to see these two parties reunite on a multi-year deal, but time will tell as other teams seeking corner outfield help evaluate Conforto as a long-term option.
Upcoming San Francisco Giants Schedule
- Monday, September 25th-Wednesday, September 27th – vs. San Diego Padres
- Friday, September 29th-Sunday, October 1st – vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
End of MLB regular season
MLB Playoffs Schedule
- Wild Card Round – October 3rd-5th
- Division Series – October 7th-14th
- Championship Series – October 15th-24th
- World Series – October 27th-November 4th