Springer would not discuss interest from the Mets, or from any other team. But over seven years playing in Houston, plus three in the minor leagues, Springer has shown he is more than capable of thriving at a considerable distance from his home state.
“It’s only a short plane flight away, if I really, really want to,” he said of going to Connecticut. “And we play in the A.L. East, and that’s pretty close to home. But at the end of the day, I wanted to go to where I believed I was going to be happy, and I believe I am.”
Last year, the Blue Jays played their home games in Buffalo after Canada restricted travel across the border because of the coronavirus pandemic. The same is likely to hold true in 2021, at least for the beginning of the season, and it is unclear yet where the Blue Jays will play home games. Springer dismissed that as a concern, along with the other issues that have led elite free agents to sign elsewhere.
“You hear a lot about the travel and all that stuff,” he said. “But the reality of it is, it honestly didn’t bother me one bit.”
In Springer, the Blue Jays are getting one of the most complete outfielders in the game at a time when the club is looking to challenge the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in their division. In his seven years in Houston, Springer never led the league in any of the top offensive categories, at least not until the postseason, when he has shone.
He was named the most valuable player of the 2017 World Series, in which he batted .379 with five home runs and three doubles as the Astros won their first title. In 63 postseason games over all, Springer has 19 home runs, tied with Albert Pujols for fourth on the career postseason homer list. His ability to produce when the stakes are highest is something the Blue Jays see as more than a fluke. While recent analyses of players tend to focus more on their production over the long haul of a full, 162-game regular season, the Blue Jays noted that they placed a high value on Springer’s strong record in October.
“Players who are prepared and embrace competition, and have an elite desire to win, will fall back on preparation and rise to the occasion,” Atkins said. “George has done that, and that was exceptionally attractive to us.”