Many viewed the Mets as frontrunners for Springer, but they didn’t get above the $120-125 million range. New York is left to look elsewhere for an outfield upgrade.
The Blue Jays and Mets were the two main teams bidding for Springer over recent weeks. This goes down as a major coup for Toronto, who have pushed themselves towards American League contention.
Toronto picked up Robbie Ray earlier this winter. They made a massive offseason move to acquire Hyun-Jin Ryu a year ago. Springer is the statement acquisition, though. Springer is the player that elevates a line-up from promising to scary. Toronto will hope this financial outlay is what pushes them from in that mid-tier of semi-contenders to a legitimate challenger for the Yankees and White Sox in 2021.
The Blue Jays offseason has kicked into action this week. They struck out on DJ LeMahieu, Francisco Lindor and others. In Springer, Tyler Chatwood and Kirby Yates, they have bolstered this young, talented roster just as they have aimed to all winter. Reports surfaced that they are not done yet and could move for Michael Brantley, a close friend of Springer and former Astros teammate.
Only the Dodgers, Padres, Yankees and Mets are ahead of the Blue Jays in Fangraphs’ 2021 projected WAR. Springer ranks third of all center fielders in WAR projections – his production is befitting of his status as the highest-paid non-Mike Trout center fielder.
Never write off the Rays. Their ability to win games from seemingly weak rosters is unmatched. It isn’t reckless to put the Blue Jays in the inner circle of American League contenders after this signing, though. Vlad Jr, Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez behind Springer is a serious offensive unit. There’s upside in the rotation, too.
Toronto is probably a pitcher or two away from being put on the same level as the Yankees or White Sox, but they’re certainly in the mix.