Springer is headed to the Blue Jays’ spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, for a physical. If all goes according to plan, Toronto will get the star it has been looking for all winter.
The contract would be the largest given out by the Blue Jays in franchise history. Their only other contract that topped $100 million was a $126 million extension given to Vernon Wells in 2006.
Springer, the spark plug for the Houston Astros‘ offense in the leadoff spot for the past four seasons, was one of the most coveted free agents on the market this offseason. He hit a team-high 14 home runs last season and added another four in the postseason, as the Astros lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Championship Series.
While several of his teammates struggled offensively this past season amid fallout from the 2017 sign-stealing scandal, Springer, who earned a prorated $7,777,778 from a $21 million salary after avoiding arbitration, has continued to put up better numbers since. He hit .265 with 32 RBIs in 51 games in 2020 while lowering his strikeout rate to 17.1%, a career best.
Because Springer turned down a one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer, Houston will receive an extra pick in next July’s amateur draft after the fourth round, and Toronto will lose its second-highest draft pick and also forfeit $500,000 of international signing bonus pool space for the 2022-23 signing period.
Potential Toronto Starting Lineup
|3B||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||R|
|LF||Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||R|
Before the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Springer hit 20 home runs in five of the previous six campaigns. He earned three straight All-Star nods, from 2017 to 2019, and was named World Series MVP in 2017, when the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.
Springer has been at his best during big moments, hitting 19 postseason home runs, which is tied for fourth all time; he also ranks sixth in slugging percentage (.546), seventh in extra-base hits (34) and is tied for 14th in runs scored (43).
Since making his debut in 2014, Springer has been one of the best hitters out of the leadoff spot in all of baseball, ranking second in home runs (136), third in RBIs (352) and fourth in hits (665) and extra-base hits (254). He also has hit a first-inning leadoff home run 39 times during his career, which ranks fourth in American League history.
In 2019, Springer set career highs with a .292 batting average, .591 slugging percentage, .383 on-base percentage and 6.2 WAR (wins above replacement).
Defensively, Springer continues to be very solid as an everyday center fielder at age 31 and could easily slide over to either of the corner outfield spots, if needed. Blue Jays center fielders accounted for minus-7 defensive runs saved in 2020, tied with the New York Yankees for 26th in MLB. Springer accounted for 6 DRS as a center fielder in 2020, tied for fifth best at the position.
The Blue Jays’ outfield was already extremely productive on offense in 2020, combining for 40 home runs. The only outfield with more homers than the Jays’ belonged to the Dodgers (50).
Overall, in seven seasons with the Astros, Springer has a .270 career batting average with 174 home runs and 458 RBIs.
A slow free-agent market saw only 21 of 181 players who became free agents following the World Series enter Tuesday with finalized agreements.
Blue Jays Nation first reported Springer’s agreement with Toronto on Tuesday night, while MLB Network first had the terms.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.