With Conforto up, Mets may shift focus away from upgrading the outfield

Ben Zobrist slice


Baron

For weeks, the Mets have been said to be focusing on acquiring upgrades in the outfield, and have been connected to players such as Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra, Wil Venable, Carlos Gomez and Ben Zobrist to fill their needs.

But according to Marc Carig of Newsday, the prices in the trade market to acquire a left-handed hitting outfielder – which Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported was their preference – have been high to date.

As such, the Mets began to seriously consider, and ultimately promote Double-A outfield prospect Michael Conforto to the big leagues in an effort to boost their offensive production which has been negatively impacted by both injury and underperformance.

Now that Conforto is here, Carig says the Mets might shift their focus to other areas in the trade market.

There’s no question Conforto probably won’t be worse than what the Mets have out there right now. Their outfield ranks at the bottom of nearly every major offensive category in the league, to the point they are not competitive on a daily basis.

But this doesn’t mean the Mets should ignore opportunities to improve the outfield. They still don’t know how Conforto will do, especially at the beginning. In fact, he’s more likely to struggle with the jump from Double-A to the big leagues than he is to succeed.

The Mets are still in no position to be picky, and they’ve said so themselves.

Sandy Alderson said so himself on Thursday, although he did acknowledge the success the club has had with their pitching prospects, and the success the Cubs have had with their position player prospects.

“One of the considerations is that most young players who come up to the big leagues aren’t terribly successful in the short term,” Alderson said. “We’ve got an example, a player in Chicago right now, who has done pretty well in the short term. But if you look overall at young players who come to the big leagues, it’s not like they make an immediate impression.

“We’ve been fortunate here with the pitching we’ve brought up and the immediate impact most of them have had,” he said. “They’ve been pretty uniformly successful from the time they got here, with maybe one or two exceptions I’m not thinking about. They quickly established themselves. That doesn’t always happen. And in the case of those pitchers, we’ve had the opportunity to pick and choose a spot for them to debut, the timing, etc.

“We haven’t always had that luxury with some of our position players,” Alderson continued.. But most young position players that come to the big leagues for the first time aren’t all that successful. Now somebody like Conforto could be the exception. Somebody like Conforto could come up with the intended purpose of only being here for a week or ten days to get through a player shortage that we might have. So there are different scenarios. But I think fundamentally you have to keep in mind that young players aren’t always extraordinarily successful from the get go.”

The Mets could still pursue a trade for someone like Zobrist, Carig said on Twitter. Sherman has said previously the Mets are willing to, “overpay to acquire Zobrist, but for now A’s GM Billy Beane is uninterested in a group of prospects including Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, or MIchael Fulmer, reports Andy Martino of the Daily News. In addition, the Mets have shown reluctance to absorb the remainder of Zobrist’s $7.5 million contract for 2015, WFAN’s Ed Coleman said on-air on Tuesday.

Demand remains heavy for the soon-to-be free super utility player, as up to seven teams – including the Mets – are in the mix for Zobrist.

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