The New York Mets have come out of the gates hot in the 2017 season starting the year 7-4. Although they currently sit in first place, not everything has been smooth sailing. Injuries have already started to pile up with David Wright, Steven Matz, and Juan Lagares, who just was activated off the DL yesterday. Injury issues have also arisen with Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, but neither have had to miss time. Another of the biggest concerns was how to get enough at bats for all five outfielders, especially Michael Conforto. The issue was not as hard with Lagares on the DL, but it will be even more challenging now.

Conforto has been relegated to the team’s fourth outfielder, but has produced enough to be an everyday player. In 15 at bats, he is batting .400 with two homers with great defense. Whenever he is in the lineup he has made an impact performing in clutch moments countless times in the early part of the season. With veterans in front of him at all three outfield positions, Terry Collins has had trouble finding spots for Conforto. Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, and Jay Bruce sit in front of him, leaving only off days for one of the three as starting opportunities for Conforto.

It is no surprise that the Mets tried to trade Bruce in the offseason to free up a spot for Conforto. But Bruce has been one of the Mets most consistent hitters thus far with four homers, a .295 average, and a .392 OBP. Sandy Alderson appeared to get more interest in Granderson, but he did not want to move him. Of all the outfielders, Granderson has had the slowest start. This comes as no surprise as Granderson has historically had sluggish Aprils and and then kicked it into gear later in the season.

With all of this, Terry is put into a tough spot. The best solution is to keep Conforto on the major league roster and give him more time in center while resting Curtis. The extra time off will help keep Grandy fresh which is especially important with the 36 year old manning center. Unless Bruce suddenly starts to slump, he cannot be benched as his power can be a difference maker. It is possible that Sandy could still be open to dealing from his excess of outfielders. Trading an outfielder for a starting pitcher could help give depth for the rotation that has been depleted with injuries and also give Conforto at bats. Sandy has not been afraid of making moves and seems that something will happen before the trade deadline comes.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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