03/18/2021 5:00 AM
George Springer (Wareham 09/10) SportsPix Photos
Article By: Ethan Kagno
George Springer (2009, 2010 Wareham Gatemen): Toronto Blue Jays - 6 years, $150 million
Back in late January, perhaps the biggest name in the free-agent pool this offseason, George Springer signed a 6-year deal worth $150 million with Toronto. The former Gatemen standout batted .288 over 16 games and swiped seven bases for Wareham in 2010.
Before the COVID-shortened 2020 MLB season, Springer enjoyed his best statistical year as a pro with Houston, homering a career-best 39 times to go along with 96 RBI and a .292 AVG. The athletic center fielder also won a World Series with the Astros in 2017 and took home WS MVP honors after slashing an astounding .379/.471/1.000 stat-line.
Springer joins a very young but talented Toronto Blue Jays core made up of notable players like Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio (2015 Harwich Mariners), Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., among others. The Jays have been in rebuild mode for the past few years however made the playoffs as a Wild Card team last season. Following a strong offseason, the acquisitions of Marcus Semien, Steven Matz, Tyler Chatwood, and Kirby Yates, are planning on making a major impact in what looks to be a challenging AL East division. The blend of young talent and newly-acquired veterans should pose Toronto as a real threat in the American League.
DJ LeMahieu - Harwich ('08) - SpoertsPix Photo
D.J. LeMahieu (2008 Harwich Mariners): New York Yankees - 6 years, $90 million
All offseason, the Yankees were determined to resign one of their most valuable players. D.J. LeMahieu, after much deliberation, chose to stay in the Bronx after he was offered an annual average salary of $15 million for the next six seasons. Other teams in the mix were their AL East rivals Blue Jays and Red Sox, as well as a pair of National League contenders in LA and New York.
During the 2008 Cape Cod Baseball League regular season, LeMahieu batted .290 over 28 games and collected 31 hits. He also helped the Mariners take home the league championship later that season with teammates Brandon Belt and Dustin Ackley.
Ultimately, LeMahieu’s decision came fairly easy as he was able to truly break out in pinstripes after playing for most of his career in Colorado. The back-to-back Silver Slugger Award winner led the MLB with a .364 AVG during the 2020 60-game season, and led the American League in OBP (.421) and OPS (1.011).
After two injury-plagued seasons, the Yanks are poised to add to their collection of 27 World Series rings. The Yankees also acquired Jameson Taillon in a trade from Pittsburgh, signed free-agent Corey Kluber, and added stability to their bullpen by signing veterans, Darren O’Day and Justin Wilson. It appears to be yet another promising year for the American League powerhouse.
James McCann (2010 Cotuit Kettleers): New York Mets - 4 years, $40.6 million
James McCann smacked 25 home runs and 75 RBI in 149 games over the past two seasons for the Chicago White Sox and was selected to his first all-star game in 2019. Selected in the second round of the 2011 MLB draft, McCann has proven to be a solid catcher on both sides of the dish. Currently, McCann ranks tied for third among active catchers in fielding percentage (.995) and fifth among active catchers in caught stealing percentage (35.88%).
McCann was a part of a talented 2010 Cotuit roster which included guys like Mike Yastrzemski, Deven Marrero, and C.J. Cron, to name a few. McCann hit two home runs in seven games to help the Kettleers take home the coveted hardware.
Although the Mets missed out on top free-agent targets George Springer and D.J. LeMahieu, owner Steve Cohen, and company made a big splash in trading for perennial All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor, and pitcher, Carlos Carrasco from Cleveland. They also signed free-agents Kevin Pillar, Jonathan Villar, Albert Almora Jr., and Taijuan Walker, and retooled the farm system in acquiring Khalil Lee and Sean Reid-Foley in separate trades. McCann should slot in as the starting catcher after receiving a four-year contract worth just north of $40 million as the new-look New York Mets could certainly turn some heads this upcoming season.