The New York Mets are still hanging around the George Springer sweepstakes even with luxury-tax threshold questions that are arising with other current and future team needs.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported on Monday that both the Mets and Toronto Blue Jays offered nine-figure deals to the 31-year-old center fielder, adding on the television station that the latter has offered a five-year, $115 million contract. He believes the Mets offered a similar contract in terms of value, as well.
Following New York’s acquisition of Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco, team president Sandy Alderson admitted that the Mets were “loosely” keeping tabs on Springer — suggesting that a beneficial deal would practically have to fall in their laps to get it done.
The Mets have an estimated $25.7 million in competitive balance tax space, according to Spotrac, while still having to find a left-handed reliever, a lower-end starter, and added depth alongside their need of a legitimate, natural center fielder.
Springer is by far the best option at his position available this winter with the continued suggestion that a fit in Queens would be a good one. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported last week that Springer would prefer to play closer to his home state of Connecticut, giving the Mets an upper-hand over Toronto.
Both the Mets and Blue Jays, however, are not close to hitting the $150 million figure that Springer initially wanted; a byproduct of the Major League Baseball’s slow market following the financial losses experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic last season.
There will be added motivation for the Blue Jays to nab Springer, though. So far, this offseason has been a fruitless one as they’ve lost out on the likes of DJ LeMahieu, Ha-Seong Kim, and Corey Kluber.
With a clear intent of improving the supporting cast around them, the Blue Jays could be willing to go the extra mile should the Springer sweepstakes approach anything close to a bidding war.
That would obviously take the Mets out of the running as spending between $20 million and $25 million annually on Springer would leave them little to no space under the luxury tax threshold.
One way to work around that while offering Springer more money is by adding more years to the term of the deal. Instead of paying him, say, $125 million, over five years for an average annual value (AAV) of $25 million, the Mets could offer a seven-year deal, bringing that AAV down to $17.85 million.
That would offer a little more wiggle room to address other team needs or begin the process of contract-extension negotiations with soon-to-be free agents like Francisco Lindor and Michael Conforto.