Several weeks ago, the Toronto Blue Jays‘ front office promised to make a big splash this winter and on Tuesday night they delivered on that promise.
The Jays snatched centerfielder George Springer from Major League Baseball‘s free agent list, signing the 31-year-old to a franchise record six-year, $150 million contract.
Springer’s deal bests the seven-year, $126 million package the Blue Jays handed to star centerfielder Vernon Wells in 2006, and at $25 million per season is $5 million more than what Toronto gave to ace Hyun-jin Ryu last offseason.
What does Springer bring to the table? A lot.
The native of New Britain, Conn., is a three-time all-star, a .270 hitter over his seven big league seasons, and is a stout defensive player.
Springer was the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros, the same team that was found to have cheated in the infamous sign stealing scandal, after he smashed five home runs in a thrilling seven game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The stain of that scandal will stay with Springer, and every other member of that Astros team, forever but I don’t think the Jays should be chastised for bringing him on board.
Some Jays fans are upset that their team now has a ‘cheater’ in uniform, but I’m not buying the guilty by association plea.
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins and team president Mark Shapiro have made a commitment to improve the roster while they believe the window of opportunity is open to make a deep playoff run and hopefully win a World Series.
Adding Springer makes Toronto’s batting order much more dangerous and improves their defence in the outfield.
Now, if the Jays can only add a few more quality pitchers their window of opportunity would open a little wider.
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.