The Blue Jays have signed outfielder George Springer to a six-year, $150 million contract, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported late Tuesday night:
Springer and Jays agree at $150M for 6 years— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 20, 2021
The 31-year-old Springer, a lifetime .270/.361/.491 career hitter, has been especially stellar over the past two seasons, posting a .953 OPS (.284/.376/.576) with 53 homers and 128 RBIs in 173 games (778 plate appearances). He brings impressive power, as he’s hit five homers in seven seasons, including a career-high 39 in 2019. Though he’d probably be best suited at a corner outfield position, his defense has improved in center field in recent seasons, and he posted six defensive runs saved — fourth among qualifying big-league center fielders — in 2020.
Springer is somewhat of a curious fit in Toronto (or Buffalo, or wherever the Blue Jays play in 2021), as the Blue Jays already had perhaps the best outfield in baseball with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (138 OPS+, 11 homers in 2020), Randal Grichuk (114 OPS+, 12 homers), and Teoscar Hernandez (146 OPS+, 16 homers). With Springer in the fold, Grichuk — who is owed $31 million over the next three seasons — will presumably be relegated to a fourth outfielder role or become a trade candidate. He could also receive at-bats at DH, though the Blue Jays already have a few intriguing DH options in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (who hopes to play a corner infield position in 2021), Rowdy Tellez, and Alejandro Kirk).
While it still remains to be seen whether the Blue Jays’ rotation, which has made incremental improvements this offseason, will be good enough to keep them competitive over a 162-game season, their lineup is now one of the most imposing in the majors, and they look like a team that could contend for a playoff spot in 2021.