Blue Jays: A chance for George Springer to make another impact
As the Blue Jays and the rest of baseball wait for a new CBA and the end of the lockout, George Springer has a chance to make a big difference for one of his teammates.
It wasn’t an ideal first season for Springer as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays as he was held to just 78 games played because of a variety of injuries that kept him sidelined, especially in the first half of the year. He ended up slashing .264/.352/.555 with 20 home runs, 50 RBI, and 19 doubles over just 299 at-bats, so he was certainly productive when he was active. Unfortunately his health was the downfall of what otherwise could have been an elite season from the 32 year old.
Springer wasn’t the only Blue Jay who had his season derailed by injuries, even if he was the most noteworthy, especially coming off of signing a six-year, 150 million dollar contract last winter. He may not have received the same amount of headlines for his injury struggles, but 2021 was supposed to be a big year for Cavan Biggio as well. In fact, a year ago I was even wondering if the Blue Jays would be better off leaving Biggio as the leadoff hitter, where he spent most of 2020, and slotting Springer in as the 3rd hitter in the lineup. Remember, this was before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. announced himself as one of the best hitters in the world, so I wasn’t completely out to lunch at the time even if it sounds ridiculous in hindsight.
There’s no denying that the 2021 campaign was a disaster for Biggio, at least relative to the expectations for him going into the year. He finished with a slash line of just .224/.322/.356 with just seven home runs, 10 doubles, and 27 RBI over 250 at-bats. Playing in just 79 games, Biggio never found his groove, and that started right at the beginning of the year as he struggled with the transition to third base after Marcus Semien was signed to take over at second, and it continued as he dealt with a variety of injury issues. I truly believe that his neck problems are as much to blame as anything for his rough year, and hopefully that issue will be in the rearview mirror for the 26 year old.’
I’m sure the Texas native will be thankful for a clean slate regardless of when the 2022 season begins, but in the meantime it sounds like he’s being smart about preparing and staying ready. According to Shi Davidi at Sportsnet, Biggio has been among a group of players that has been working out in the Houston area, including Springer and Blue Jays’ union rep, Ross Stripling. In particular, I’m a big fan of the idea that Biggio is spending time with Springer right now, for a variety of reasons.
One of the biggest reasons that the Blue Jays wanted to sign Springer was because of the veteran experience that he can provide, especially coming from so many playoff experiences during his time with the Houston Astros. Springer has seen most of what big league baseball has to offer, and he also has the shared experience of battling through injuries while trying to play the game at the highest level. I’m not suggesting that the 3x All-Star can or will fix what’s been ailing Biggio by any means, but you can bet that there will be plenty of benefits to the relationship for the younger player.
I realize that Biggio has plenty of coaches and baseball voices at his disposal, including his Hall of Fame father in Craig Biggio, but I’m still encouraged to see him spending time with Springer right now. Hopefully the entire team will be able to gather together in Florida on time once the typical Spring Training schedule rolls around, but until then, Springer will have a chance to show his younger teammate a few things, and encourage him all the while. If the Blue Jays can get the most out of Biggio’s potential in 2022, they’re even more deep and dangerous.