As the offseason unfolds, the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves once again amid trade speculations, with the names of Bo Bichette and Ricky Tiedemann echoing in the baseball corridors. However, a recent revelation from Sportnet’s Jeff Blair introduces a new player into the trade conversation—10-year veteran George Springer.
Entering the fourth year of a substantial six-year, $150 million deal with the Blue Jays, George Springer’s name emerges as a potential subject of trade discussions, signaling a strategic move by Toronto’s front office to navigate around his contract. Springer’s arrival in Toronto before the 2021 season marked a significant milestone as one of the team’s premier acquisitions during its current competitive phase. Notably, his contract stands as the largest in Blue Jays history.
This development marks one of the first instances of Springer’s name surfacing in trade talks, adding an element of surprise considering his contractual commitment and his pivotal role in Toronto’s offensive lineup since his acquisition. Over three seasons with the Blue Jays, Springer boasts a stat line of .262/.338/.460 with a .798 OPS, 68 home runs, 198 RBIs, and an 8.4 WAR. Despite occasional health concerns, the veteran outfielder avoided the injured list throughout the previous season.
Assessment of Springer’s Performance
Like in Houston, Springer has predominantly served as the team’s leadoff hitter throughout his tenure in Toronto. However, last season saw a temporary shift in his role, moving out of the leadoff position for 25 games due to his struggles and Whit Merrifield’s standout performance.
In 2023, Springer faced some regression in his statistical output, particularly in power production. His 21 home runs in 154 games marked a decline from the 22 home runs in just 78 games during the 2021 season. Additionally, he posted his lowest batting average since his rookie year, and key metrics such as OBP, SLG, and OPS hit career lows. Notably, Springer also experienced a career-high 20 double plays grounded, showcasing a departure from his previous performance standards.
While acknowledging that addressing Springer’s situation may not be the top priority for the Blue Jays—given the prominence of targets like Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto in their offseason plans—considering potential trade options seems reasonable. Springer’s eight-team no-trade clause and the financial intricacies pose challenges, but the Blue Jays, eager to make significant moves, may view this as an opportunity to reshape their roster.
It’s worth contemplating whether “getting out from under Springer’s deal” aligns with a strategic move to allocate funds elsewhere, perhaps in pursuit of a player like Ohtani. Jeff Blair’s revelation remains a rumor, a piece of discourse, a tweet, and “something he’s heard,” but it sparks a conversation about the evolving dynamics within the Blue Jays organization.
As baseball enthusiasts eagerly await decisions on Shohei Ohtani, potential Juan Soto trades, and other signings, the prospect of a George Springer trade adds an intriguing layer to the offseason narrative, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.