Kris Bryant, Michael Conforto “two realistic” bats for the New York Mets

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 25: Kris Bryant #23 of the San Francisco Giants in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 25, 2021 in New York City. The Giants defeated the Mets 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 25: Kris Bryant #23 of the San Francisco Giants in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 25, 2021 in New York City. The Giants defeated the Mets 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Once the MLB lockout ends, the New York Mets (under second-year owner Steve Cohen) will one of many teams looking to add to their team before the start of the regular season.

They have already added outfielders Mark Canha and Starling Marte (both from Oakland) as well as infielder Eduardo Escobar (from the Milwaukee Brewers) one of the best starting pitchers in the game in Max Scherzer (from the Los Angeles Dodgers) via free agency.

But according to Pat Ragazzo, the Mets beat writer for Sports Illustrated, the Mets could look to add one of Kris Bryant or re-sign outfielder Michael Conforto.

Kris Bryant and Michael Conforto could be targets for the New York Mets

Kris Bryant and Michael Conforto could be on the top of list of targets for the New York Mets once the MLB lockout ends.

Bryant, 30, is a bit of an odd fit on the surface but once you look at him and the team further, he is more of a fit. Bryant is from Las Vegas and he may want to be closer to home than he was when he was with the Chicago Cubs.

Being with the San Francisco Giants to end the 2021 campaign, Bryant was obviously closer to Vegas and that’s part of the reason why Jon Heyman of MLB Network said in November that the Colorado Rockies could be a fit for him. They need desperately need offensive help and he’d be fairly close to Vegas. Being in New York would, obviously, make him much further away from Vegas.

Bryant is also primarily a third baseman and the Mets just signed Eduardo Escobar. But Bryant can also play the outfield. The Mets could use him in the outfield on a semi-regular basis and, therefore, they could rotate Bryant and Escobar at third base and Bryant, Canha, Marte, and Brandon Nimmo in the outfield. The odd man out on that specific day out be their DH, as the DH is coming to the NL in 2022.

Or the Mets could trade Jeff McNeil (which they have been considering anyways) and move Escobar over to second base. Mark Canha could also play first base for the Mets so the Mets could have a lot of moving pieces with the versatility of their players.

Conforto, who turns 29 next week, is less versatile than Bryant but the Mets know what they are getting in him, since he has played for them for parts of the last seven seasons in the majors. As they saw from 2017 through 2019, in particular, Conforto could be a 30-homer, 100-RBI bat for them, just like Bryant.

However, like Bryant, Conforto has missed some time due to injuries. Conforto only played in 125 games in 2021 due to a hamstring injury and missed some time in 2016 and 2017 as well. Bryant missed nearly half of 2020 due to a wrist injury and he missed more than two months in two separate stints on the IL in 2018.

As Ragazzo notes, Showalter slipped up in a meeting with the media when he a) mentioned Conforto by name (when he technically can’t due to the lockout) and b) said “if” he signs elsewhere so, seemingly, Conforto is more likely to re-sign with the Mets than initially believed.

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The Mets will have some stiff competition in signing either one of them, though, as both are two of the best remaining offensive players left on the free agent market.