Chicago Cubs Rumors: Michael Conforto connections grow

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The Chicago Cubs still have a need for an impact bat in the middle of their batting order after the signing of free-agent shortstop Dansby Swanson and that would seem to be the area that the team has shifted their focus to.

While there is data that would seem to suggest that Swanson can continue his power trend now playing a bulk of his games in National League Central ballparks, the Cubs remain a team that is desperate for impact bats. That desperation is heightened by the fact that the Cubs' best hitter last season, Willson Contreras, is now catching for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Two names that have been linked heavily to the Cubs in the past week are free-agent outfielder Michael Conforto and free-agent first baseman Trey Mancini. There was a strong insinuation made by Bruce Levine on Saturday that one could seemingly expect Conforto to be added to the team's lineup before the start of the season.

Levine went into more detail about the value that Conforto would bring to the Cubs' lineup.

It was unclear if Levine is trying to manifest his preference for Conforto into the Cubs' plans or if there was legitimate interest from the team. The Cubs have been connected to Conforto on the national level in recent weeks but the local connections have been few and far between.

Michael Cerami of Bleacher Nation did provide that local confirmation of the Cubs' interest in Conforto on Monday.

Colorado Rockies beat reporter Patrick Saunders also had an update on Conforto on Monday.

The uptick in Conforto mentions on Monday has the smell of a free agent that may be nearing a decision. On paper, the fit for the Cubs from a fielding perspective may be difficult to find but once you factor in the designated hitter role and days off, Conforto seemingly could see regular playing time while rotating between the corner outfield spots and as the team's designated hitter. When healthy, Conforto boasts a .255/.356/.468/.824 slash line with a 124 wRC+ over the course of his 7-year career.