Blue Jays making push in pursuit of outfielder George Springer

Sportsnet's Blue Jays Insider Ben Nicholson-Smith joins Sportsnet Central to discuss the Blue Jays losing out on DJ LeMahieu and how the Blue Jays will deal with another player going off the board.

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays continue to show serious interest in star free agent George Springer and are believed to be making a push for the outfielder, according to industry sources.

Springer, 31, is thought to be the top free agent target for a Blue Jays team intent on improving this winter. The sides were expected to re-connect early this week and may have already done so, industry sources said.

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 has been reported to prefer the Mets because of their proximity to his home state of Connecticut, but his interest in the Blue Jays is believed to be genuine, with Toronto posing little or no obstacle.

Of course the Mets can’t be ruled out, even if landing Springer would require some creativity now that they’ve acquired Francisco Lindor.

Team president Sandy Alderson has called the $210 million competitive balance tax a “significant demarcation,” suggesting trades would be required to add a player of Springer’s calibre, or perhaps a creative contract structure. D.J. LeMahieu, another Blue Jays target, helped the New York Yankees in that way by stretching his $90 million guaranteed salary over six years.

There's always the possibility of an unknown bidder entering the mix for Springer when a player of his calibre is available.

Beyond Springer, the Blue Jays also have interest in Trevor Bauer, the top pitcher on the open market, and J.T. Realmuto, arguably the best catcher in the sport. Both free agents have heard pitches from the Blue Jays in recent months.

If they don’t land Springer, Jackie Bradley Jr., is believed to be among their considerations for an outfield addition. They also intend to add an infielder, and the market is stacked with options, from Gold Glove calibre second baseman Kolten Wong, to shortstops Didi Gregorius and Marcus Semien, and third basemen Justin Turner and trade candidate Kris Bryant.

To this point, lefty Robbie Ray is the only add of significance made by the Blue Jays, who aside from unsuccessfully pursuing LeMahieu, also missed out on Lindor, Liam Hendriks, Corey Kluber, Ha-seong Kim, Tomoyuki Sugano and Kevin Gausman.

Joe Musgrove, whom they discussed with the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to last summer’s trade deadline in a deal that would have been centred around catcher Alejandro Kirk, was reportedly dealt Monday, pending physicals, to the San Diego Padres as part of a three-team deal that also included the Mets.

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