Mets: Michael Conforto unlikely to get a look at first base

With the Mets outfield currently stacked going into Spring Training, questions are naturally coming up about the one outfielder that seems to be looking from the outside in: Michael Conforto.

Back in the end of January we discussed the possibility of Conforto starting the year off in Triple-A Las Vegas since Jay Bruce was anointed as the Mets’ starting right fielder. While this is still very much a realistic and likely option, there was talk of having Conforto take some ground balls at first base to get him some exposure there, and maybe increase his chances of staying with the big league club.

Terry Collins‘ reference to wanting to mimic the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs’ style of play seemed to indicate he’d be open to trying out something like this, but it looks like the skipper may have changed his mind as the weeks went on.

Collins spoke with reporters today down in Port St. Lucie about a myriad of topics, and of course, this idea of Conforto getting some time at first base came up.

“Right now, he’s got a lot on his plate to regain the form that we saw two years ago, so I’m just gonna leave him in the outfield. I’m not going to talk about first base with him right now. I want him to just go play, get in the outfield, do what you do best,” Collins noted.

Having Conforto concentrate on hitting and playing the outfield sounds like a good idea, but I can’t help but disagree with Terry about this. I think he could do both while still getting some work in at first base.

Now, the fact that the Mets likely won’t be giving him at shot at the infield doesn’t mean he won’t be on the Opening Day roster, however. Collins acknowledged that Conforto’s value could come from being able to play both right field and center field, and how in shape he’s gotten this offseason.

“Obviously, I’m going to move him around […] He looks tremendous. He’s trimmed down. I had one of my coaches say to me, ‘hey, he looks like a center fielder.’ We’ll make the determination as to where he’ll be as we get deeper into camp.”

Conforto has looked really in the outfield in general, but his play in center has been better than most expected. Last year, he made a spectacular catch off Daniel Murphy that was so beautiful, it practically made our own Sam Maxwell tear up. 

All you Conforto fans can derive a little bit of hope from the manager’s words. He, like Sandy, seems to still be all in with Michael as the future of this Mets’ outfield, so the key for this season will be to have him perform when he gets the opportunity to do so. Those chances may not be as plentiful as they once were.

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