Shortly after the 2019 season ended, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen sought to cut off any rumors about Noah Syndergaard and Edwin Diaz before they began, saying that the plan was for both of them to be part of the team in 2020.
What about Michael Conforto?
Asked on Monday at the GM meetings whether he would put Conforto on a list of basically untouchable players along with Syndergaard and Diaz, Van Wagenen indicated that he would.
"I think some of those core guys would be very difficult for us to trade," Van Wagenen told SNY's Andy Martino at the GM Meetings. "I think that you never want to say never, but Michael is a big part of what we've done so far. His consistency has been remarkable. His ceiling as a player is something that I don't think we've even seen yet. He's one of the clear leaders of our club on the field and in the clubhouse. I can't imagine us really moving Conforto."
Conforto is expected to earn $9.2 million via arbitration in 2020. He is arbitration-eligible one last time in 2021, after which he is eligible for free agency.
The 26-year-old hit .257/.363/.494 with 33 homers, 29 doubles, and 92 RBI in 151 games for the Mets this past season.
Conforto's best season so far during his five-year career came in 2017, when he slashed .279/.384/.555 with 27 homers in 109 games before a freak shoulder injury during a swing in late-August led to season-ending surgery.
That surgery impacted Conforto into 2018, when (by his own admission) he forced himself to return earlier than he should have and struggled early on. Still, he has been one of the most productive outfielders in the National League since his big league debut in 2015, and seems to have a spot as one of the Mets' starting outfielders etched in stone for 2020.
Van Wagenen has spoken in recent days about the desire for the team to play Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in the corner outfield spots while aiming to find a new center fielder.
With Conforto and Nimmo expected to be in the corners, that likely pushes Jeff McNeil to third base (the spot Van Wagenen has been talking him up at) and makes the potential role of J.D. Davis an open question.
As far as Conforto goes, the Mets would be wise to discuss a contract extension with him -- something he said during this past season he would be "all ears" about.