The Blue Jays remain the Mets’ biggest threat in the free agent market

Oct 16, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) rounds third base on his way to score against the Tampa Bay Rays on an RBI double hit by second baseman Jose Altuve (not pictured) during the fifth inning during game six of the 2020 ALCS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the fall and winter, it seems like the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets have had the same targets in free agency. True, catcher James McCann wasn’t particularly high in the Canadians’ wish list, but they want Trevor Bauer, they would love to bring George Springer into the fold, and they are also looking to ink reliever Brad Hand.

The Mets, even after adding McCann, reliever Trevor May, pitcher Carlos Carrasco, and shortstop Francisco Lindor, aren’t closing the door on further additions to their much-improved roster.

The latest reports suggest that the Mets would like to add a center fielder. Brandon Nimmo, the starter, was stellar with the bat in 2020 (.280/.404/.484, .888 OPS) but very weak with the glove (only in the 2nd percentile in Outs Above Average) so it makes sense that the club is looking for other alternatives.

Springer and the Mets made a lot sense before the Lindor trade, but now that the team has added his lofty $22 million salary for 2021, it appears that the Blue Jays are now taking the lead in his pursuit.

The Mets’ priorities have changed

The Mets, however, remain keen on upgrading center field defense, and have been connected with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Albert Almora. Despite the unlikelihood of another hefty contract, though, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman writes that the Blue Jays and Mets have both offered Springer contracts north of $100 million.

Per Heyman, the Blue Jays “seem focused” on Springer and relievers Brad Hand and Kirby Yates. The Mets represent stiff competition for the birds when it comes to the former, as they need a left-handed reliever after Justin Wilson hit free agency.

Both teams appear to have equally strong chances of ending up with Hand on their roster. However, at this point, Springer is more likely to play with the Blue Jays than with the New York Mets.