Blue Jays Rumours: Why the interest in George Springer?
George Springer has been linked to several teams throughout this offseason, and while the Blue Jays are in a financial position to make a competitive offer, there are several obstacles in the way of getting a deal done.
The Blue Jays front office has been vocal this offseason about adding high impact players. In terms of adding via free agency, George Springer is as high impact as it gets and plays a position the Jays have been looking for consistent production from for years.
Randal Grichuk, who has taken the majority of the reps in centre field since Kevin Pillar’s departure, could easily move back over to a corner spot if the Jays were to sign Springer. Unlike other high profile free agents that the Blue Jays have been linked to like J.T. Realmuto and DJ LeMahieu, Springer would be an upgrade at a position that the organization lacks depth.
With that said, there’s a lot to consider before even making an offer to Springer. First of all, Springer is projected to sign a deal in the five-year $125 million range. That would be the biggest contract the Jays have ever given to a free-agent. Whether or not the front office is willing to spend that type of money this offseason is up for debate but historically, the organization has never given out contracts of this size.
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Just like any free-agent, the Blue Jays are going to have to sell Springer on playing in Toronto, a task that has proven difficult in years past. Springer, a native of Connecticut, may very well rule out the Jays based simply on geography, especially with other east coast teams like the Red Sox and Phillies expressing interest.
Given Springer was a part of Houston’s electronic sign-stealing scheme in 2017, the organization would have to consider the potential repercussions of bringing in a player that played a key role in the scandal. It is possible players in the Jays clubhouse would not take kindly to Springer, especially Randal Grichuk who not only plays Springer’s position but was quoted saying he thinks the Astros rings should be stripped.
From a production standpoint, Springer’s numbers didn’t take much of a dive after 2017. He posted an OPS of .974 in 2019 and a .899 in 2020, proving he can ultimately produce without the help of trash cans. Springer would also be a defensive upgrade in centre as he had a Defensive Runs Saved of six runs last season and has been an above-average center fielder over the course of his career.
Something the Jays are going to have to consider is the risk of signing a 31-year-old centre fielder to a long term deal. A move to a corner position might be inevitable, but we could see his production at the plate decrease with age. The bottom line is the Jays don’t want to repeat the disastrous Jacoby Ellsbury deal, who was a year younger than Springer when he signed his seven-year deal with the Yankees and declined dramatically after arriving in New York.
The biggest selling point for Springer is undoubtedly his freakish postseason numbers. Springer, over the course of thirteen playoff series, has an OPS of .895, 19 home runs and 38 RBI. His world series numbers are even more impressive.
In only two World Series, one of which he was named MVP (asterisk acknowledged), he carries an OPS of 1.295 to go along with 7 home runs and 11 RBI. For a team like the Blue Jays with legitimate playoff ambitions, there isn’t a single player available that has the postseason pedigree of Springer.
All things considered, I think the Jays will take a run at Springer but the odds of luring him north of the border are slim. The Blue Jays will have to significantly outbid other clubs to even be in the running and the risk-reward of overpaying for Springer may not make sense for the organization.
The club has money to spend, but knowing how methodical this front office is, they’re going to make sure that every dollar is put towards making this team as good as it can be for as long as possible. Springer may be an upgrade in centre, but considering his price tag, the Jays will likely opt to spend their money elsewhere.