Springer, Blue Jays finalize 6-year deal

January 23rd, 2021

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have agreed to a six-year, $150 million deal with star outfielder , the team announced on Saturday.

This is the largest contract in the history of the organization, surpassing the seven-year, $126 million deal signed by Vernon Wells in 2006.

Springer had been the Blue Jays’ No. 1 target all offseason and, while they pursued other notable free agents, all roads eventually led back to the 31-year-old center fielder. This deal not only represents a significant upgrade to a team that returned to the postseason in the shortened 2020 season, but a message to the rest of baseball that the young Blue Jays are no longer developing. They are officially in win-now mode.

The Blue Jays and Mets had been the two finalists for Springer for much of this offseason, but New York’s additions of star shortstop Francisco Lindor and others put the Blue Jays in the driver's seat, where they could use the payroll flexibility that comes with such a young team. According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the Mets’ final offer to Springer came in around six years and between $120 million and $125 million.

This is similar to what the Blue Jays did last offseason with ace left-hander : They eventually jumped out in front of the rest of the market by giving him a fourth year for a total of $80 million.

Springer is coming off seven excellent seasons with the Astros, where he has hit a career .270 with an .852 OPS. The Blue Jays were attracted to Springer not just for his positional fit -- they’ve coveted a star center fielder for years -- but for how he fit their specific lineup and vision. With a career on-base percentage of .361 and the power to flirt with 40 home runs, Springer has the ability to change the game with one swing of the bat while also hitting near the top of the lineup.

This signing also gives the Blue Jays something that most young clubhouses lack: postseason experience. Springer, who won a ring in 2017 as a member of the Astros, has appeared in 63 postseason games with numbers that fall comfortably in line with his regular-season performance, hitting .269 with an impressive 19 home runs and an .895 OPS.

While a move to a corner outfield spot is possible in the latter half of Springer’s deal, he is fully expected to take over as the everyday center fielder, leaving the Blue Jays with the good problem of also having , and in the outfield mix. The Blue Jays have plenty of options there, from a corresponding move to using their available DH reps, but there is still plenty of time between now and Opening Day to sort that out.

Given that the Blue Jays built much of their offseason around the pursuit of Springer, the rest of their plan can now come into focus. As it stands today, the club’s primary areas of need are third base and the starting rotation, with the latter being their likeliest play.

The club has also agreed to deals with relievers and recently, shoring up their bullpen, and they are expected to further explore the starting pitching market, too.

On Friday, the Blue Jays traded right-hander Hector Perez to the Reds in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations, which freed up a 40-man roster spot for Springer. With that now at a full 40, future Major League additions will require a corresponding move.