George Springer appears to have one foot out the door, and there are two finalists for the Houston Astros‘ star free-agent outfielder.
The New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays are the finalists for free-agent outfielder George Springer, according to the New York Daily News.
The Mets and Blue Jays have been linked to Springer since the start of free agency, so it is little surprise that these two teams are reported to be the finalists. The Mets have been regarded as the favorites for the 31-year-old by rival executives ever since Steve Cohen purchased the team, promising to bring the organization back to prominence sooner rather than later.
But the threat of the Blue Jays is real. They have been among the most aggressive teams this winter searching for upgrades, with general manager Ross Atkins telling reporters prior to the winter meetings that they were waiting to pull the trigger on multiple deals. They are aggressively working to upgrade their up-the-middle defense and Springer, regarded as one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, would provide a significant upgrade.
It has been obvious since the beginning of the offseason that Springer would not return to the Astros, and this report indicates they are not strongly involved at this time. It would be a massive loss to the organization considering he posted a strong .899 OPS with 14 home runs and 32 RBI in 51 games this season. And in 2019, he delivered a career-best .974 OPS with 39 home runs and 96 RBI in 122 games.
Springer’s departure would come as little surprise to the Astros. The team has planned for this scenario since general manager James Click took over, evaluating their internal and external options. There are no obvious internal candidates, considering their entire starting outfield in 2020 are all free agents. But they maintain interest in re-signing Michael Brantley and have expressed interest in free-agent outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and could explore a variety of targets over trade, including Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier.
But it is increasingly clear that Springer’s time in Houston is all but over. The only thing left to find out is where he is playing in 2021 and beyond.