Some within Major League Baseball are expecting free-agent outfielder George Springer to sign a huge contract in the near future.
According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, some MLB people he has spoken to think Springer may be the first big domino to fall in free agency, and they also believe the 31-year-old signing a "bonanza deal" is a possibility.
Springer, who has spent his entire seven-year MLB career with the Houston Astros, is arguably the best offensive player available in free agency along with New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu and Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto.
While Springer has played a huge role in Houston's success, current indications are that he is likely to end up elsewhere next season.
Last month, Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News reported that the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays had established themselves as the finalists to sign Springer.
That was before the Mets acquired shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco from Cleveland, so it is unclear if New York remains in the running.
The Connecticut native is a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He has slugged 29 or more home runs and drove in 80 or more runs in a season three times each, and he has also scored 100 or more runs in a season on three occasions.
Despite his power, the center fielder spent part of his tenure in Houston as a leadoff hitter, which speaks to his versatility.
He enjoyed a career year in 2019, hitting .292 with 39 home runs and 96 RBI, and followed that up with solid production last season in the COVID-shortened campaign, batting .265 with 14 homers and 32 RBI in 51 games.
Springer also has a penchant for coming through when the games matter most, as he has hit .269 with 19 home runs and 38 RBI in 63 career playoff games. He was also named World Series MVP in 2017 after batting .379 with five homers and seven RBI in the Fall Classic.
Any team that signs Springer will be landing a huge addition with the potential to completely change their lineup since he can hit pretty much anywhere in the order.
The Mets would perhaps challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers to be the World Series favorite in the NL by adding Springer and Lindor to a lineup that already included Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto.
Meanwhile, the Jays would land a much-needed veteran to supplement young offensive stars such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.
Regardless of where Springer signs, he will be a splashy acquisition who could help shift the balance of power in either league.