Report: Mets nixed potential deal for J.D. Martinez when Tigers inquired on Michael Conforto

We learned early on Tuesday that the New York Mets could be a potential landing spot for Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez, who is seemingly the biggest fish Detroit is using as trade bait this off-season. However, the potential for such a deal was quickly washed away when the Mets reportedly agreed to bring back outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on a four-year deal worth $110MM.

Now while that doesn’t completely rule out a potential deal with the Mets involving J.D. Martinez, it does make it much less likely. However, it was reported that there may have been ongoing trade talks between the two sides, until Detroit inquired about the top prospect for the Mets, left-handed-hitting outfielder Michael Conforto.

Conforto, 23, was the Mets top pick (10th overall) in the 2014 MLB Draft and a graduate of Oregon State. The Mets top prospect at the time made his major league debut in 2015 and in 56 games, he clubbed nine homers and drove in 26, slashing .270/.335/.506. Conforto however endured a bit of a sophomore slump this past year, hitting just .220 with a .725 OPS in 109 games played.

It may have been merely just doing their due diligence, but there are a number of reasons for Detroit to be intrigued with Conforto. He’s controllable for five more seasons (not eligible for free agency until 2022). He hits from the left side, something the Tigers desperately need in a right-handed-heavy lineup. Most importantly though, it would mean Detroit is gaining a little more than $11MM in cap space, something that the team is open to doing this off-season.

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It’s hard to imagine the Mets giving up a touted player like Conforto straight up for one player, unless it’s for someone under contract just as long at a position more in need. With the signing of Cespedes, New York has four outfielders under big league, free agent contracts. It is reported that the Mets are more willing to deal veteran outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, both of whom are in the final year of a contract in 2017 and are making more money that J.D. Martinez next season.

Anything could happen I suppose, at this point. But I personally would not count on Detroit striking a deal with New York to acquire someone like Michael Conforto.

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