We knew the Blue Jays would have to pay big if they were going to sign George Springer this offseason, but it might be more than anyone expected.
I had hoped the Blue Jays would be able to sign a premium free agent before the calendar flipped to 2021, but here we are on the last day of the year and the market is still crawling.
The Padres have lit the trade market on fire over the last few days, but pretty much all of the best free agents remain unsigned as we head into January. That list includes George Springer, who is one of the most frequently mentioned names in Blue Jays rumours. The 31-year-old centre fielder would bring a lot of upgrades for the Jays’ lineup, and it makes sense why they’d pursue his services.
So far the rumour mill has told us that the Blue Jays are mostly bidding against the New York Mets on Springer, and it appears that remains the case at the moment. However, it might be a while before the situation is resolved even if the race is down to two teams. That’s because the latest from SNY’s Andy Martino is that Springer’s camp is seeking “well over 150 million” dollars for his next contract.
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Martino also mentioned a rumour that made its way around Twitter on the weekend, that Springer was about to sign with the Mets for five years and 125 million. That obviously didn’t happen, and according to Martino’s latest report, that’s probably not enough to get Springer to agree at this point. Whether that means they’re looking for a sixth year, or a lot more than 25 million per season for the 3x All-Star remains to be seen.
If the reports are true that they’re looking for 150 million or more, and likely at least a six-year deal, that makes me less confident that the Blue Jays will end up with Springer in their lineup next season. The Mets have made no secret of their desire to spend money after getting new, more aggressive ownership, and I’d be a lot less surprised to see them overpay for Springer than I would if Atkins did the same. That said, the market can change in a real hurry, especially if the Mets get tired of waiting and choose to spend their money on another top-tier talent, such as Trevor Bauer or DJ LeMahieu, who they’ve also been linked to.
For now I don’t blame Atkins and the Blue Jays if they’re waiting for the price to come down a bit, especially given the lack of movement on the free agent market. That said, eventually a domino like LeMahieu, Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, or Springer is going to fall, and I imagine the rest will happen in short order after that.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Blue Jays, Mets, or even Springer’s camp start to blink before that happens.