We're moving deeper and deeper into MLB's offseason calendar, but most of the biggest free-agent names remain on the market. Also on the market? A daily dose of rumors. Let's dig into those for Tuesday.
Blue Jays serious about Springer
The Blue Jays, coming off a surprise playoff appearance in 2020 and with an impressive young core in place, are expected to make a big splash this offseason. Speaking of which, their interest in signing star outfielder George Springer can be characterized as quite serious. Here's this from Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet:
"Earlier in the off-season, the Blue Jays are believed to have presented Springer with a framework for a substantial offer -- a five-year proposal for more than $100 million, reported Jim Duquette, the former Mets GM who now works for SNY. Now, the Blue Jays have a chance to present Springer with an improved offer, or at least to continue selling him on the franchise."
Springer, 31, is among the very best free agents of the 2020-21 offseason. He's a career .270/.361/.491 (131 OPS+) hitter who is very comfortable in the leadoff spot. The three-time All-Star has finished as high as seventh in MVP voting and won the 2017 World Series MVP. He has 19 homers in 63 postseason games, including four in his 13 playoff games last year. During the 2020 regular season with the Astros, he hit .265/.359/.540 (140 OPS+) with 14 homers, 32 RBI and 37 runs in 51 games.
The Mets are also believed to be strong contenders for Springer's services, and Queens has been reported to be the Connecticut native's preferred destination. However, given that the Mets have recently indicated that the luxury-tax threshold may be a significant consideration after the addition of Francisco Lindor, the Blue Jays may be better positioned to make a serious run at Springer.
Jays in advanced talks with Kirby Yates
More from Toronto, as according to multiple reports the Jays in the late stages of talks with closer Kirby Yates:
As you can see above, Yates struggled in the abbreviated 2020 season, but he pitched in just six games before undergoing surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. In 2018 and 2019, Yates achieved dominance after developing a splitter. Across those two seasons, Yates pitched to a 1.67 ERA with 191 strikeouts and 29 unintentional walks in 123 2/3 innings. As long as he's healthy, he profiles as dominant bullpen force in 2021.