Cubs: Marcus Stroman is a vocal proponent of free agent Michael Conforto

(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

It’s safe to say we should have a pretty substantial level of concern when it comes to the outfield mix the Chicago Cubs are heading into the year with. Is there potential? Sure. Is there also the possibility it turns into a plug, play and pray-type scenario where there are no good answers on a daily basis? You bet.

Knowing that makes Marcus Stroman’s recent vocal advocacy of former Mets teammate Michael Conforto all the more interesting.

Conforto, just 28, is certainly an interesting free agent – and one that’s no doubt been debated by Jed Hoyer and his front office. Depending on what the new CBA includes, Conforto is tied to draft pick compensation after turning down a qualifying offer from New York at season’s end – but, again, that could change.

Chicago Cubs: Outfield mix could use Michael Conforto in a big way

The Cubs need help from the left side offensively. Looking at the projected starting lineup, there’s not an everyday left-handed bat in that mix right now. With the questions in the outfield at literally every turn, adding someone like Conforto could make a huge difference in 2022 – and for years to come.

I delved into Conforto last month – and you can circle back on that piece here. But the SparkNotes version is this: he’s a plus defender, walks a good amount and doesn’t chase outside the zone. But perhaps most importantly, he’s coming off his worst offensive seasons in years – which could dampen the interest in him when the lockout lifts.

We know Jed Hoyer isn’t chomping at the bit to throw a nine-figure contract at someone – especially one that spans a decade or more. But buying low on a guy who, prior to 2021, had a pretty remarkable track record of success (134 OPS+ from 2017 to 2020)? Yeah, that seems like a fit on both sides.

Next. Ranking the 5 most important Cubs heading into 2022. dark

Maybe we haven’t seen Stroman in camp yet – but if you watch his social media, he’s a big supporter of certain guys – and could wind up being a key player recruiting free agents to the North Side as the Cubs look to re-tool and return to contention sooner rather than later.