Former Houston Astros outfielder, three-time All-Star and 2017 World Series MVP George Springer is arguably the top position player available in Major League Baseball's free-agent market. According to reports, Springer is expected to choose his new team this week and by all indications it will be either the New York Mets or Toronto Blue Jays. SportsLine offers MLB odds on Springer's 2021 team.
Springer hit .265 with 14 homers in 51 games in the shortened 2020 season and had a career-high 39 bombs and 96 RBIs with a .292 average the season before in just 122 games. He's a proven postseason performer with a whopping 19 home runs in 63 playoff games. The 31-year-old is from Connecticut and would like to play close to home, which obviously would give the Mets a big advantage – other nearby teams like the Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox aren't in the Springer market.
New Mets owner Steve Cohen has been very aggressive already this season in trading for Indians superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco as well as signing free-agent catcher James McCann and reliever Trevor May.
While Cohen is the richest owner in the sport, he has said he doesn't want to exceed the luxury tax and the Mets almost surely are going to sign Lindor to a huge extension before the season or risk losing him after 2021. Thus, the Mets could easily be outbid by the desperate Blue Jays.
There's also the fact the Mets no longer have a general manager after firing Jared Porter on Tuesday, a day after ESPN reported Porter he sent explicit unsolicited texts and images to a female reporter in 2016 while working for the Cubs in their front office. Porter joined the Diamondbacks in 2017, and was with Arizona until being named Mets GM earlier this offseason.
Frankly, the Mets don't really NEED Springer. They have a good outfield in place in Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil – although New York may prefer to play McNeil at second. The Mets could opt to sign the cheaper Jackie Bradley Jr. to fill an outfield spot and use the extra money to sign former Indians closer Brad Hand. The Mets have negotiated with Hand already.
The Blue Jays badly need an upgrade in center field but might have to overpay to get Springer because some MLB players are hesitant to play in Canada for tax reasons, etc. – especially during the pandemic when the Blue Jays might not even have a full-time home. They played most of their home games last season in Buffalo, site of their Triple-A affiliate.
Toronto reportedly offered Yankees free agent second baseman DJ LaMahieu four years and $78 million, which is $19.5 million (US) per season. LaMahieu instead took six years and $90 million to return to New York, which is $15 million per year. The Blue Jays also lost out on the likes of Lindor, Kevin Gausman, Liam Hendriks and Ha-Seong Kim this offseason. Time to save face with Springer?
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: With which team will free agent outfielder George Springer sign?
- Blue Jays -120
- Mets Even
- Other +2000
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