Outfielder Michael Conforto’s free agency will last longer than expected, as the former Mets outfielder underwent surgery on his right shoulder last week, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. After the surgery, performed by Dr. Neil ElAttrache, Conforto is expected to be ready for next year’s Spring Training. He sustained the injury while training in January.
The surgery closes the book on what ended up being an underwhelming 2021-22 free agency period for Conforto. He entered the offseason ranked as the No. 19 free agent in MLB.com’s free agent rankings and declined the Mets' $18.4 million qualifying offer in November, setting up what he hoped would be a big payday. That didn’t end up being the case, however, as Conforto’s name was notably absent from both the pre- and post-lockout free-agent spending frenzy.
Since Conforto’s signing with a team will occur after the 2022 MLB Draft, he’ll enter the offseason without the Mets’ qualifying offer attached to him, meaning that any team signing him will no longer have to give up a Draft pick as compensation.
Last season, Conforto posted his lowest OPS (.729) and wRC+ (106) since his first full season in 2016, as he finished the year with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs over 125 games for the Mets. A one-time All-Star, his best year came in 2019 when he slugged 33 home runs and drove in 92 runs in 151 games. The 29-year-old (who will be 30 by Opening Day 2023) played exclusively in right field in 2021.