George Springer has been nothing but electric since entering the league in 2014. The three-time all-star is one of the few Astros who did not have a down season in 2020. This impressive stretch of years is providing the outfielder with a chance to sign a max contract. The Astros could line up a deal with Springer, but the George Springer free agency market should be more complex. There are many possible landing spots for the superstar, but let’s detail the five most likely suitors.
I am sticking firm with my Springer to the Red Sox prediction for now, just as I did in October. The Red Sox could have a potential departure in Jackie Bradley on the way, and so Springer will replace him. Bradley is more of a defensive-centered outfielder, and while Springer is decent defensively, his bat is what makes him elite. If Jackie does leave, expect Boston to make a run at picking up Springer, as they have the money. However, the more viable option would be to keep Bradley, and spend money on pitching, which is desperate for help. Springer might just be good enough to make an exception to a strictly pitching offseason, and he will be priority one if we see JBJ walk. If Boston can add Springer to an already talented lineup, they may have the best offense in the American League.
Although many Houston fans have completely given up on the George Springer free agency race, resigning him is not impossible. He will be the main priority for the Astros this offseason, and they may even overpay to secure him. If Springer does head back to Houston, you may see his annual contract value pushing 30 million. That’ll be Houston’s best shot, especially if the 2017 World Series MVP does want to leave. There are many teams that will be interested in the George Springer free agency contention, but no front runners at the moment. With there being so much uncertainty wrapped up in this upcoming season, teams may not be ready to make long-term deals, which gives Houston an advantage. They know what they are getting in Springer, and if they can shell a large sum of money at him, he might return.
I expect Springer to head to Boston, but don’t be surprised if he comes back home. Times are weird right now, and that may factor in his decision as well. My current Springer power rankings are as follows: 1. Boston 2. New York 3. Houston.
New Mets owner Steve Cohen has shown he can spend his money intelligently and fill important holes with James McCann. It will be interesting to see if Cohen will now target more needed players, such as pitching, or the best position player available. Trevor Bauer is most definitely the Mets’ biggest priority right now, but if they can’t get him, Springer could be next. The Mets are looking to compete quickly and adding one of the best outfielders in baseball will help, even if it doesn’t fill an immediate hole. If Bauer does not work out, and Springer falls out of Boston’s reach, he will be a Met.
The fit for St. Louis to win the George Springer free agency battle is perfect, but probably won’t happen. The Cardinals need an outfielder, especially with the aging Dexter Fowler losing his athleticism. If they cannot secure a consistent outfielder, St. Louis will be left with the unproven Harrison Bader, or Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill, who are better as corner outfielders anyway. Springer will be the perfect fit in centerfield, but he will also provide the Cardinals with a much-needed big bat.
Unfortunately, St. Louis fans can’t get too excited. The Cardinals are not even willing to pick up Kolten Wong’s $12.5 million team option, so, Springer might be unavailable. St. Louis’ front office needs to realize that in order to compete, they need to spend money. Springer and his offense might be the perfect player for the Cardinals. But if they are unwilling to invest, they will never know.
Cincinnati is another long shot, but if things lineup then they could pull the trigger. Trevor Bauer is most definitely the Reds’ preference, but they are expected to lose him. As we have seen in the 2020 NL WC, the Reds desperately need hitting. Springer fills that void and can replace the poor hitting Nick Senzel out in centerfield. Unfortunately, Cincy is not exactly at the top of Springer’s wish list. If the Reds are willing to open their pockets, however, they can maybe overpower the other teams. They should have available money, and if they want to compete, they must go all in on Springer. George Springer is a good fit for the Reds, but it is very unexpected for him to sign there. Look for Cincinnati to spend on cheaper options for hitting, or for Bauer’s inevitable replacement.
Springer is going to be one of the most influential players on the free agency market. Not only will he bring an immediate impact to whichever team he joins, his potential is greater than any other free agent available. The outfielder will excite the entire league next season. It will be very interesting to see where he ends up.
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