Now that DJ LeMahieu is officially returning to the Bronx, George Springer’s free agent decision is down to just the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.
The Blue Jays and Mets have always been the frontrunners for Springer this offseason. But Toronto was also aggressive in pursuing LeMahieu. Now that LeMahieu is off the board, their full attention will turn to Springer.
The Blue Jays are looking for a spark to launch them into contention in the AL East. They’ve built a talented young core and are ready to start making moves to become a competitive team. Adding arguably the best bat on the free-agent market would certainly go a long way in establishing their position in the American League.
But the Mets are a tough team to compete with free agents for right now. With new owner Steve Cohen, they have as close to unlimited resources as exists in Major League Baseball. They have a clear need defensively in centerfield and still have some room before hitting the luxury tax threshold.
However, the Mets just recently added Francisco Lindor via trade. And he’s made it clear that he doesn’t intend to negotiate an extension during the season. As such, some of that luxury tax breathing room the Mets have could disappear before the season starts should they work out a long-term extension.
And Cohen has made it clear that he doesn’t intend to go over the luxury tax in his first year. Unless the Mets grow flexible with that constraint, it seems more likely that Springer remains in the American League with the Toronto Blue Jays.