Blue Jays: Consider shutting down George Springer for a few games

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06: George Springer #4 of the Toronto Blue Jays strikes out swinging in the top of the eighth inning of game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 06, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06: George Springer #4 of the Toronto Blue Jays strikes out swinging in the top of the eighth inning of game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 06, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays rolled into New York yesterday and took down the Yankees, cruising to an 8-0 win on the back of a stellar performance from starter Hyun Jin Ryu and a two-home run performance from Marcus Semien which included a grand slam. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also got into the fun with a 3-5 day with one long ball as well as a home run from Teoscar Hernandez, with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. continuing his hot streak to drive in run number three in the seventh inning.

Overall, the Blue Jays may not have hit around the Yankees pitching until later into the game, collecting only seven hits from only four players, but they were able to generate five walks on the day and left only five batters on base all game.

It’s always good to head into a division rivals home barn and grind out a decisive win, and while the Blue Jays should be happy with their performance, there is one player who struggled yesterday at the plate.

George Springer left the Blue Jays in the ninth inning after struggling in the batter’s box, leading some to believe a few days of rest may be in the cards for the outfielder.

Battling injuries for a good chunk of the season, George Springer struggled against the Yankees yesterday, going 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout before being replaced late in the game by Jake Lamb. While other players also went hitless like Bo Bichette and Danny Jansen, Springer physically struggled when he was at the plate, his knee clearly still bothering him as he took his swings.

To make matters worse, the righty hitter fouled a ball right off his brace-supported knee in the eighth inning, falling to the ground and looking like manager Charlie Montoyo was going to replace him right then and there. Springer would finish the at-bat, striking out in the process, before limping to the dugout and being replaced by Lamb when his spot turned over in the ninth.

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With the Blue Jays in the playoff hunt and currently 3.0 games back in the Wild Card race, it makes sense why Springer is still in the lineup grinding every day. Every game is in must-win mode and when Springer is playing well and healthy, he can be a real difference-maker at the top of the lineup, evident by his .922 OPS on the season.

The issue at hand is that the Connecticut product is not healthy right now, clearly laboring in the batter’s box and only being able to play as the designated hitter rather than in center field. While this isn’t the end of the world, his cuts at the plate looked ugly yesterday and his knee was clearly bothering him to the point where he could barely hobble back to the dugout after his last at-bat.

I highly doubt Springer will be in the game tomorrow and it might be time to consider keeping out for the next few games or possibly even a 10-day IL stint. While this is tough to hear, he is clearly in pain and it is impacting his performance at the plate and limiting him to the DH role. Kudos to him for grinding it out and continuing to play but the reality is that he is compromised and this could potentially hurt the club rather than help if he keeps putting up the numbers he has been lately, sporting a .192/.300/.269 slash line with six strikeouts through his last seven games and 26 at-bats.

If the club wants to take his injury on a day-by-day basis, they at least have the reassurance of an extra outfielder given the rosters expanded to 28 players on September 1st and can monitor the situation. He could even go on the IL and be retroactively placed back to yesterday’s date (the last game he played) if after a few days his knee is not feeling better.

It makes sense that fans want to see Springer in the lineup and continue to play given how big of a signing he was this past Winter and that he’s already missed a lot of time on the IL this year. However, if he continues to struggle in the box and can’t run the bases properly, it makes more sense to have someone fresher in the lineup to bat rather than hope he hits a home run so he can hobble around the bases at his own pace.

This also isn’t a random injury, as he struggled in Toronto this past weekend against Oakland when he was on the bases, evident by his wincing and how he gingerly ran between the bags.

Considering he will most likely get the next day or two off unless he can get healthy enough to run the bases and take a proper swing in the box without falling to his knees, it might be worth it to put him on a short IL stint and let Jake Lamb, Randal Grichuk, and Jarrod Dyson split some time in CF and let Alejandro Kirk take some cuts in the DH role.

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I get that this is crunch time and some people may want to run him into the ground to make the playoffs, but if he can’t make it to first base when he puts it into the outfield, it might be time to make the tough decision and let him get a little healthier and let the rest of the lineup picked up the slack.