Late last night the reports started that George Springer has signed with the Blue Jays. First it was Brendon Kuhn of jaysnation.com that sent out a tweet that caught fire, and not long after TSN’s Joey Vendetta backed up the breaking news.
As of this writing, we’re still waiting for official confirmation that the deal is confirmed to be in place, but like many of you, I’ve already started to celebrate the idea that the Blue Jays just got a lot better (Ken Rosenthal confirmed the news just before 11pm). Adding Springer is likely a pre-cursor to another move as well, and even though we’re getting to a late stage of the offseason, it’s clear that Ross Atkins and his staff haven’t finished their work for the winter.
Springer’s elite offensive production is a huge part of what makes him an attractive addition, but he’s an especially good fit in Toronto because he gives them a legitimate upgrade in centre field. Randal Grichuk did an adequate job in 2020, but his ability is stretched in centre and he is far better suited to playing in the corner.
With the new addition in centre, now the Blue Jays lineup could look something like this:
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1- Springer (CF)
2- Cavan Biggio (2B)
3- Bo Bichette (SS)
4- Teoscar Hernandez (DH)
5- Vladimir Guerrero Jr (3B)
6- Rowdy Tellez (1B)
7- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (LF)
8- Grichuk (RF)
9- Danny Jansen (C)
That looks pretty great on paper, doesn’t it? That said, I’m not in the camp that believes that Vlad Jr. will be able to return to third base successfully. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I think it’s far more likely that the Blue Jays add another infielder. For the sake of visual, let’s say that player is Kolton Wong, who remains available on the free agent market. Then the lineup could look like this:
1- Springer (CF)
2- Biggio (3B)
3- Bichette (SS)
4- Hernandez (RF)
5- Guerrero Jr. (1B)
6- Tellez (DH)
7- Gurriel Jr. (LF)
8- Wong (2B)
9- Jansen (C)
Now that feels like a lineup that can truly compete in the AL East.
You’ll notice that the player that’s missing in the second group from the first is Grichuk, but that doesn’t mean that’s how things will work out. We’ve heard Gurriel Jr’s name floating in rumours throughout the winter, and it’s possible that he could be the centrepiece in a trade that brings the Blue Jays another much-needed starting pitcher. Swap Grichuk in for Gurriel Jr. in that case, and while it would be a downgrade, it’s still a dangerous lineup. It’s also possible that they keep both and utilize the DH spot to give everyone at-bats and regular days off.
Of course, Wong isn’t on the roster in reality, so the work isn’t quite done with the lineup, and probably not with the starting rotation either. However, when the Springer deal becomes official, on top of inking Kirby Yates to a one-year deal to improve the bullpen, two major needs are taken care of. As for the lineup, adding Springer gives an already talented Blue Jays lineup a massive boost.