Blue Jays: How long should George Springer spend down in AAA?
Signing the most expensive contract in Blue Jays history at 6 years, $150 million, fans were excited to see what outfielder George Springer could bring to a roster that already featured a young core of homegrown talent with lots of potential in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.
Sporting a career .269/.360/.492 slash in with 176 home runs and 461 RBI through 8 seasons, Springer has spent a majority of the 2021 season on the injured list, with various injuries limiting the Connecticut native to just four contests this season.
While having Springer at the top of the lineup would be great to see, the Blue Jays have performed well without the outfielder so far, leading the Major Leagues in home runs (100) and second with their .776 OPS.
The Toronto Blue Jays announced yesterday that outfielder George Springer will be heading down to AAA on a rehab assignment, with no current timeline as to when the former All-Star will be returning to the active roster.
The Blue Jays announced yesterday that Springer will be starting his rehab assignment down in AAA today after a week or so of running the bases and appearing healthy enough to do sprints and return to light baseball activity in center field. The organization appears to have him set to play in five innings in the outfield in his first appearance with Buffalo and assess his health from there depending on how he feels.
That being said, one wonders how long the front office plans to have their star acquisition down in the minor leagues considering he has missed a significant part of the season through the first two and half months.
For comparison’s sake, Cavan Biggio went on the injured list back on May 22 and was recently sent to AAA on his rehab assignment, playing three games and 12 plate appearances with the
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Bisons before being recalled to the active roster. This is obviously not the same scenario considering Biggio has been healthy all year and on the Blue Jays roster until his injury compared to Springer missing most of the season, but it’s unclear at this time how long the front office plans to keep him down in the minor leagues after dealing with the recent quad injury.
With Springer not playing since May 2, I would imagine that the Blue Jays will have him down there for at least two weeks to get his timing back at the plate and make sure he is healthy enough to play in the outfield on a more regular basis. Ramping up his activity to playing a full game in AAA will be the first goal in his rehab assignment, as a return to the IL would not bode well if he is pushed too quickly too soon.
Having him spend the two weeks down in Buffalo will benefit the Blue Jays in the long run, especially if he can return to the active roster as an outfielder rather than having to spend a week or two as the team’s designated hitter. He has more defensive upside compared to some of the other options in the outfield like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (who does have a better arm but terrible routes to the ball) and Teoscar Hernandez; having him patrol center field will make the Jays better overall, not just in the batting order alone.
It will be one game at a time for George Springer during his rehab assignment as he continues to work his way back to the major league roster in a way that benefits the Blue Jays and sees the outfielder put behind the injuries that have bothered him all season long.