Cubs Rumors: Michael Conforto could miss the entire 2022 season
By Jake Misener
If you’ve watched any Chicago Cubs baseball this year, you’re well aware of the fact this lineup lacks the power we’ve all grown accustomed to over the last five-plus years. Adding an impactful left-handed bat would provide a badly-needed boost to the offense, but, at least for now, the team is likely to let it ride with the group on-hand.
During the offseason, the Cubs were a speculative landing spot for free agent outfielder Michael Conforto, who was coming off the worst year of his career, but looked like the perfect buy-low bounceback candidate. For months, we couldn’t figure out not only why Chicago hadn’t made a move to add him, but also the other 29 teams across the league.
Then, this spring, we learned that Conforto had suffered a fairly serious shoulder injury and was just getting back to baseball activities. Shoulder injuries can drain a player’s power, so it makes sense no one was willing to bite on him until he could prove he was back to 100 percent. Except there’s just one problem with that line of thinking: according to the latest reports, he’s still nowhere near full strength.
According to the New York Post (subscription required), Conforto is yet to resume throwing and his entire 2022 season could be in jeopardy. Apparently, the injury was serious enough that he considered going under the knife – but instead opted to rehab it in hopes of getting back on the field this year.
If this is all true, and Conforto really isn’t close to being ready to return, there are two plausible paths forward for the former Mets outfielder. 1) he waits out the MLB Draft, which takes place in mid-July, the draft pick compensation attached to him falls off and he can sign without a team having to give up a pick. 2) he sits out the year, focuses on getting healthy and tests the free agent waters again next winter in what could be a very weak class.
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Either way, it seems unlikely we see Conforto back on the diamond anytime soon. If he can prove he’s healthy and capable of being the player who put up a 128 OPS+ from 2015 to 2020, he’ll garner his fair share of interest – especially free of the draft pick compensation that killed his market early last offseason.