The Toronto Blue Jays’ interest in George Springer is well-documented. Now, they’re after another Houston Astros outfielder.
The Houston Astros are among the teams most interested in signing free-agent outfielder Michael Brantley. With George Springer likely to depart, leaving a gaping hole in the outfield, retaining Brantley is an essential part of the offseason. But the team, as expected, is facing serious competition.
The Toronto Blue Jays have interest in Brantley, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. He indicates that their interest in Brantley is the same as Springer: that the two sides have talked and progressed beyond that, perhaps to the point of Toronto extending an offer to Brantley.
Toronto being involved on both Springer and Brantley is particularly worrisome for the Astros. They will not sign both, of course. But the Blue Jays appear increasingly likely to add another star in free agency and are described by industry people as the most aggressive team this winter, even ahead of the Mets who appear primed to spend big money under new owner Steve Cohen.
Losing Brantley would throw a huge wrench in the Astros’ offseason plans. He appears to be their biggest potential acquisition to replace Springer, perhaps with the exception of Jackie Bradley Jr., and could put the team in a position where they have to overpay to secure Bradley Jr.
That said, the market is continuing to play itself out. The Blue Jays are casting wide net in hopes of landing a star and of the two, Springer appears to be their prime target. But the fact that they’re interested – and appear to have already made both offers – indicates that they’re players the team likes a lot.
Nothing appears imminent, but the Blue Jays’ early aggressiveness on the market could change that at any moment. And if they land Brantley, it will be interesting to see how the Astros react. Do they spend on Bradley Jr.? Do they explore the trade market? Does re-signing Josh Reddick become a possibility?
These are questions that the Astros front office has gone over and will continue to discuss in the coming weeks. While Houston re-signing Brantley still appears most likely, it may not be as much of a sure thing as once thought.