Outfielder George Springer, arguably the premier position player on this winter’s open market, came off the free-agent board when he agreed to a six-year, $150MM contract with the Blue Jays earlier this week. Unsurprisingly, though, other teams made a serious push to sign the three-time All-Star. The Astros were not one of those clubs, however, as Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle suggests they made no real attempt to re-sign Springer after he turned down their $18.9MM qualifying offer.
The Mets, who were considered one of the front-runners to ink Springer during his stay on the market, offered a six-year deal worth $120MM to $125MM, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Springer would have made for yet another significant addition under new owner Steve Cohen, who has already overseen the acquisitions of Francisco Lindor, James McCann, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor May in the past couple months.
Whether the Mets will continue shopping for a starting-caliber outfielder after falling short in the Springer derby remains to be seen, as they already have Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith as their top three right now. But Marcell Ozuna, who received interest from the Mets earlier this winter, remains available in free agency. The Mets have also discussed third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant with the Cubs, while Jackie Bradley Jr. leads the remaining class of free-agent center fielders in the wake of the Springer deal.
One of the Mets’ NL East rivals – Atlanta – also vied for Springer, who would have replaced Ozuna in its outfield. The Braves were “in on Springer until the end,” David O’Brien of The Athletic writes. Ultimately, though, the Braves were unwilling to go to the lengths the Jays did to sign Springer. Indeed, it would have been out of the norm for general manager Alex Anthopoulos to make that type of commitment to a free agent, even though the Braves could use another established star in their outfield to team with Ronald Acuna Jr.