Mets GM Sandy Alderson reiterated Tuesday that a possible demotion to Triple-A for OF Michael Conforto isn't off the table.
It was reported earlier this week by SNY's Andy Martino that demoting the struggling Conforto could be an option for the team. Alderson said Conforto could benefit from a demotion as it would let him focus on the offensive side of the ball.
"I think we would consider sending anyone to the minors who we felt would benefit from it," he said during a conference call on Tuesday. "Having him in Las Vegas for a period of time would allow him to work at the offensive side of the game."
But Alderson is also looking at the other side of sending Conforto down. He wants his young outfielder to be able to battle through adversity, especially when it comes against big league pitchers.
"The argument against is that he needs to get through this," Alderson explained. "He needs to get through this against major league pitching."
Conforto, who recently said he would not be in favor of heading to Triple-A to work things out, is hitting .215/.335/.359 in his fourth season with the Mets during his return from shoulder surgery. He has just two hits in his last 25 at-bats.
But Alderson still sees Conforto battling through these early-season struggles, which is why the demotion hasn't come already.
"I think right now, he's part of the solution. We're hopeful that he will see better results, but certainly not out of the question," Alderson said.
For tonight's series-opener against the Braves, Conforto is hitting leadoff in manager Mickey Callaway's lineup.
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Unlike Adrian Gonzalez (who was released because he didn't have a future with the Mets), and Jose Reyes (who will likely be released soon because he doesn't have a future with the Mets), the decision to remove Conforto from the 25-man roster would be done with his and the team's long-term benefit in mind.
However, now is not the time to demote Conforto -- not with the rest of the offense in a similar malaise and him having shown signs just last month of snapping out of his funk.
Conforto hit .256/.337/.444 with five home runs in May, before his recent cold streak knocked him back down.
With the seriousness of the shoulder surgery Conforto is returning from, combined with his low hard hit and home run to fly ball percentages, it's fair to believe that a big part of what's ailing him is simply that he hasn't gotten his full strength back. And that's not something that will magically return if he's in Triple-A instead of the bigs.