Free-agent outfielder George Springer could be the No. 1 offseason target for the Mets, according to SNY’s Andy Martino, who writes that the longtime Astro “remains heavily in the mix.” Meanwhile, Martino hears that the Mets are more aggressively going after catcher James McCann than fellow backstop J.T. Realmuto.
Springer would join an already loaded Mets outfield that includes Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith as potential options for 2021. Nimmo was the only member of that group to line up in center field last season, though he struggled to minus-five Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-4.1 Ultimate Zone Rating over 308 1/3 innings there. Conversely, Springer posted six DRS with a minus-0.4 UZR across 338 innings, and he has typically performed well at the position since he first debuted there in 2014.
Of course, anyone who signs Springer wouldn’t be doing so primarily because of his defense. Rather, that team would be adding him on account of the immense impact Springer has made with his bat. This past season was the latest tremendous offensive effort for the 31-year-old Springer, who slashed .265/.359/.540 (146 wRC+) with 14 home runs in 222 plate appearances.
The Mets seem to have a bigger need behind the plate than in their outfield, as Wilson Ramos and Robinson Chirinos are free agents. The most established catcher on their roster is Tomas Nido, who owns a woeful line of .197/.234/.319 (46 wRC+) in 270 MLB plate appearances. That suggests the team will upgrade from outside the organization in the coming months. McCann, who’s coming off an impressive season, should cost far less than Realmuto, but he won’t be easy to acquire for the Mets and deep-pocketed owner Steve Cohen. At least six teams have shown interest in McCann early this offseason, so there will be plenty of competition to sign him.