3 free agents San Diego Padres should target in 2021 offseason

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

George Springer

If the Padres didn’t feel like they could spend for Betts, then George Springer would be a very nice second option to find an elite center fielder who can hit for power.

Springer will be 31 when he becomes a free agent next offseason, so he shouldn’t be nearly as expensive in terms of years and dollars as Betts.

He didn’t break into the league until he was 24 years old and he really didn’t put himself on the map until 2016 when he hit .261/.359 with 39 home runs and an OPS of .815.

In 2017 he made his first All-Star appearance hitting .283/.367 that season with 34 home runs, 112 runs scored, and a .889 OPS.

Two years ago he hit .265/.346 with 22 home runs, 102 runs scored, and a .780 OPS.

But this past season he hit .292/.383 with 39 home runs, 96 runs scored, 96 RBI, and an OPS of .974.

He’s averaged 4.6 WAR over the past five seasons.

I was surprised to see that Springer is not a very good base stealer with his speed. He hasn’t recorded double-digit steals in a season since 2015 when he swiped 16 bases.

Springer has split time between center and right field and has been a plus defender at both positions. He had 6 DRS in center in 540.1 innings in 2019 and 5 DRS in 374.2 innings in right last year, according to FanGraphs.

With Springer entering his age 31 season in 2021, you’d have to be careful giving him a long term deal, especially if you’re considering him as your center fielder.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a four or five-year deal for around $25 million a year.

You also don’t know how teams are going to view him because of recent injury struggles and his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.

Perhaps that drives the price down even more for the Padres to be serious contenders for him.

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