For any teams looking for an outfielder in this year’s free agency, there is one potential target that stands out above all others: George Springer. He is the best player available at his position by far and arguably the best overall player on the market. Any team that signs Springer will have to have budget to take on the massive long term contract he will likely ask for. If 2020 was a full season, he would have had 30+ home runs for three out of the last four years, showing any team that gets him will have a lot of firepower to lead off their lineup. Springer will also be an above-average defensive center fielder for whoever signs him. Despite the fact that he was a part of the Astros’ cheating scandal, his reputation seems to be fine and will likely still have many suitors vying for his talents.
1. Houston Astros
Springer has spent the entirety of his career in Houston and has been extremely successful. Some may say that it was due to a trashcan more than Springer himself, but regardless he is still a World Series champion with the Astros. There have been reports that surfaced saying that he is not happy in Houston and wants to leave, but it is unknown if these reports are true. Whether or not Springer wants to go to Houston, the Astros should definitely attempt to pursue him. Springer was a key part of that World Series core and he is needed to keep Houston as a perennial playoff team. Houston didn’t even win their division with him last season, so it is going to be hard to compete if they do not have him.
2. New York Mets
As the new owner of the Mets, Steve Cohen is making it a point to try to spend and compete in the NL East. After trading for Francisco Lindor and many other different acquisitions, New York seems to be one big move away from being in a position to overthrow the Braves to become finish first in the division. Additionally, the club has had a hole in center field over the last few years, which Springer could fit perfectly. Cohen has the money to spend on Springer and give him the long term contract he wants to make both the player and team happy. If Springer is going to leave Houston, the Mets seem like the most obvious choice.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
Many reports have indicated that Toronto is looking to sign a big-name free agent and they have had interest in Springer among others. Due to the expanded playoffs in 2020, the Blue Jays reached the playoffs despite coming third in their own division. To take the next step in their rebuild, they have to sign one impact player, who can change their franchise. The Rays, who beat Toronto in the playoffs last year, have lost reliable starters, Blake Snell and Charlie Morton, giving the Blue Jays a chance to be more competitive within the division in 2021. Toronto has a young core of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, and Springer can be that last veteran piece to allow them to compete with the Yankees in the AL East.
4. Chicago Cubs
The NL Central has no clear favorite going into the 2021 season. With one big move, any of the teams in the division can pull ahead and earn a playoff spot. Chicago won the World Series just a few years ago and have limited time before they have to blow up that core. They still have Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Wilson Contreras, but nobody knows for how much longer. The Cubs need to sign one impact free agent to give themselves a chance to compete one last time. Springer can be the man to make a difference in the Cubs’ lineup and allow them to win their division. With the addition of an All-Star outfielder, the Cubs will surely be a threat not only in the Central but the NL as a whole.
5. Minnesota Twins
Despite being a perennial playoff team in recent years, the Twins have not won a postseason game since 2004. Minnesota needs another star player to take them from just being a playoff team to a playoff contender. Their main competitor in the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox, have gotten better by trading for Lance Lynn and signing Liam Hendricks. The White Sox already had a great duo in Dallas Keuchel and Lucas Giolito, but with these moves, they will get even better. The Twins need to make some moves of their own on the offensive side of the ball to counteract the stellar pitching on the White Sox and signing Springer will give them the chance to do so.
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