Skip to main content

Seattle Mariners pursuing All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto in MLB free agency

Seattle Mariners, Michael Conforto
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off their first playoff appearance in more than two decades, the Seattle Mariners are among the most active teams in MLB free agency. With the open market flooded with potential impact bats, Seattle is eyeing multiple pieces to put itself over the top in 2023.

The Mariners already made the first big move of the 2022-’23 offseason by acquiring All-Star outfielder Teoscar Hernandez. However, Jerry Dipoto isn’t finished making moves with free agency viewed as his likely next target to improve the roster.

Related: Seattle Mariners eyeing two sluggers in free agency

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Mariners are among the teams interested in signing former All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto. He is also being pursued by the New York Mets, with the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees also keeping him on their radars.

Conforto was one of the best outfielders available in free agency last offseason. However, he suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery and kept him out until August. While multiple teams made an effort to sign him, the left-handed hitter chose to wait until the winter.

Entering his age-30 season, Conforto hasn’t returned to the player that took the National League by storm from 2017-’19. During that three-year stretch, he posted a .257/.363/.492 slash line with a 129 wRC+, 13% walk rate and .855 OPS.

Conforto slashed .322/.412/.515 in 2020 with a career-high 158 wRC+ and a .827 OPS in the COVID-shortened season. The following year, though, his numbers dropped off considerably.

  • Michael Conforto stats (2021): .233/.344/.384, 12.3% walk rate, .729 OPS, 106 wRC+

Why Michael Conforto is a great fit for the Mariners

MLB: New York Yankees at New York Mets
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It’s understandable why Conforto is on the Mariners’ list of free-agent targets. He fills a position of need, brings specific skills they are looking for and it’s an opportunity for a homecoming.

While Seattle boasts Hernandez, Julio Rodriguez and Jesse Winker, it wants to improve defensively. Hernandez is best utilized as a designated hitter and the Mariners’ organization clearly doesn’t want to go through another year of Winker playing so much in the corner outfield.

During the 2021 season, Conforto ranked in the 89th percentile for arm strength and finished in the 72nd percentile for Outs Above Average (Baseball Savant). He could provide them with someone reliable in either corner outfield spot.

Dipoto also wants to find someone who consistently gets on base and Conforto demonstrated that every season He posted a double-digit walk rate from 2016-’21 and boasts a career .356 OBP.

Finally, this would provide Conforto with a chance to return home. born in Seattle, he played for the Northwest Region in the Little League World Series and starred at Redmond High School in Washington.

Related: Seattle Mariners interested in trade with New York Yankees