The New York Mets were unwilling to offer outfielder George Springer more than $120 million before the former Houston Astros star agreed to a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays for six years, $150 million on Tuesday.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the team previously let Springer's camp know the club wouldn't exceed that limit in their negotiations.
"If the Mets had matched that—added $5 million annually to their bid," Sherman reported, "they believe they stood a strong chance of landing the star center fielder, helped by the lure of proximity to Springer's Connecticut roots."
Arguably the top position player on the free-agent market, Springer has been a revelation since coming up with the Astros. The Connecticut native slashed .278/.364/.515 over the last four years with 109 home runs and 284 RBI.
He's been especially valuable at the top of the order in Houston, where he became known for hitting leadoff home runs.
The three-time All-Star who's earned a share of MVP votes in recent years looked like a perfect fit for the Mets' outfield until the Blue Jays upped their offer.
Sherman noted multiple factors that precluded New York from going over its self-imposed limit. The ability to re-sign Michael Conforto, the uncertainty of the National League retaining the designated hitter and a desire to spread out team spending over multiple players were all reportedly weighed during talks with Springer's team.
Ultimately, the Mets stuck to their original budget. That's left the team looking for new ways to fill an immediate need in the outfield.
Marcell Ozuna, Jay Bruce and Jackie Bradley Jr. are among the best available, but whether any of them fit into New York's price range remains to be seen.