George Springer Would Be Mets Best Outfielder
Organizations and fan bases have is they become very attached to their players. It’s understandable as teams have invested so much in a player, and a result, they’re invested in that player. As for fans, it’s their nature.
Now, this only becomes problematic when it stands in the way of true progress. Right now, that’s the position the Mets may be.
As Sandy Alderson discussed with Jon Heyman on his podcast, he doesn’t see George Springer as a hit unless there is a universal DH. Part of the reason is it further complicates the Dominic Smith/Pete Alonso problem.
Both players are All-Star caliber first baseman, but there is only one first base bag. Without a DH, the solution has been to put Smith in LF. Despite all the work Smith has put into it, he’s not a MLB caliber LF.
In his career, he’s a -7 DRS and -8 OAA in 470.1 innings in left. With his 26.0 ft/sec sprint speed, it’s unrealistic to expect him to improve much.
Smith in left is exacerbated because it also forces Brandon Nimmo to play out of position. Instead of playing left where he is a good fielder, he’s forced to play center where he’s a poor defender.
Really, when you look at the Mets roster, Nimmo and Michael Conforto are the only everyday caliber outfielders on the roster. When looking at them, neither can play center everyday, and really neither are as good as Springer.
Since 2017, Springer has a 16.2 WAR, 138 wRC+, and a 13 DRS. Conforto has an 11.9 WAR, 132 wRC+, and a -14 DRS. Nimmo has a 7.8 WAR, 136 wRC+, and a -12 DRS.
Keep in mind, Springer’s numbers include his playing CF. In center, Springer has a career 14 DRS and 3 OAA. He’s also maintained elite speed with a 28.2 ft/sec last year indicating his good play out there should continue.
Now, as indicated earlier, there is some push to not sign Springer because it displaces one of Smith or Alonso. To wit, we should take a look at the past two seasons. That probably works better because that also coincides with Conforto moving past his shoulder injury.
- Springer – 8.6 WAR, 153 wRC+, 15 DRS
- Conforto – 5.7 WAR, 134 wRC+, -3 DRS
- Nimmo – 2.5 WAR, 130 wRC+, -5 DRS
- Smith – 2.6 WAR, 149 wRC+, -3 DRS (OF), -1 DRS (1B)
- Alonso – 5.5 WAR, 137 wRC+, -7 DRS
Now, there are some caveats to note here. Nimmo dealt with a neck injury much of 2019, but he’s proven he can return. Smith was largely a part time player in 2019 and missed time due to injury. Springer is the only player in his 30s, and he’s part of the Astros sign stealing scandal.
Putting those caveats aside, Springer would be the Mets best outfield option from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Really, when you break down the Mets roster further only Francisco Lindor and Jacob deGrom can stake a claim to being a better player than him.
When you break down this Mets roster, not one player should serve as an impediment to signing Springer. None of the current Mets can play center, and with the exception of Lindor, none of the current position players are better than Springer.
Yes, there are justifiable reasons to not sign him. There’s his contract demands, his age, and the heavy lifting the Mets need to do signing players to extensions. What isn’t a justifiable reason is Smith or Alonso.
As good as both players are, neither are as good as Springer right now. They’re also first baseman. Whether or not the Mets sign Springer, the organization still needs to find a center fielder, and they need to solve this conundrum.
Overall, Springer is the perfect fit for the Mets. He’s a good center fielder, and he’s a right-handed bat who can balance this heavy left-handed hitting lineup. No one on this current Mets roster should be used as an excuse to not pursue him.