Cleveland Guardians: The 2022 Opening Day Dream Lineup

Franmil Reyes #32 of the Cleveland Guardians (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Franmil Reyes #32 of the Cleveland Guardians (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Michael Conforto
Michael Conforto #30 of the New York Mets (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

5. Michael Conforto, RF, Cleveland Guardians

This is where free agent signings could become very important in Cleveland. The outfield. If ownership is truly willing to spend money to make the first season of the Guardians a success, then adding another sure-thing in the outfield is a must. Myles Straw was a good move, but adding a middle-of-the-order bat to play the outfield is the next step.

Michael Conforto is set to become a free agent after making $12.5 million with the New York Mets in 2021. Conforto has already said he won’t accept a qualifying offer, so free agency seems to be the plan. The bad news is that a qualifying offer would mean about $19 million for Conforto. If he’s looking for more, that could rule out Cleveland.

However, the Eddie Rosario situation could play itself out again in favor of Cleveland. Conforto didn’t have the most impressive 2021 season, slashing just .232/.344/.384, so that number of $20+ million might not be offered, meaning a one-year deal on a discount might be a possibility. If that’s the case, Cleveland could be the perfect place.

In Cleveland, Conforto would have ample playing time to regain his bat that hit above .320 in 2020. It would be a band-aid fix for the Guardians, but that could be the best option anyway with rising prospects showing potential.