Astros: Trading George Springer Would Be Foolish
By Cody Poage
To acquire talent you usually have to part ways with talent. This is something that the Astros should know well.
Nowadays in Houston, everyone wants a “sure-fire” ace in the starting rotation. At any costs necessary. Even if it means parting ways with arguably the most electric player on your roster.
Yes, I am talking about George Springer.
Sure, I would love to see Chris Sale in the Astros rotation. Or a Chris Archer. I don’t know who wouldn’t. I just don’t believe trading Springer, a five win outfielder, is worth the cost.
For comparison sake, the only right fielders who had played 50% or more at the position with a higher WAR than Springer this past season were Mookie Betts (9.6) and Adam Eaton (6.2). Kole Calhoun was fourth with a 3.4 WAR. Good luck replacing Springer and expecting little-to-none drop off.
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Outfielders of Springer’s clout are difficult to come by. His offensive numbers ranks amongst the best at his position. And his defense is good enough to cover all three outfield positions, if needed. While the Astros may have outfielders in the minors who can eventually be comparable to Springer, odds are that won’t happen in the near future.
Say what you will, but the Astros have a pretty good team right now. Last season they were an 84-78 team with a lackluster rotation. The offense, while inconsistent, was solid through and through. Springer is part of the core that shouldn’t be broken up. He isn’t free agent eligible for the first time till 2021. When healthy, he is a complete game-changer for Houston.
All of that said, I will admit that Springer’s value is awfully high.
Outside of a handful of players in the league, Springer alone could be the centerpiece of any trade. After all, his skill set is notable.
Bat? Check. Glove? Check. Range? Check. Health? That is one variable to keep an eye on.
In his first two major league seasons, Springer has seen his campaigns end or at least shortened due to injury. A cumbersome leg injury in 2014 and a hit-by-pitch on the hand in 2015. So that is the reason why his health in 2016 was a major sticking point to his value.
Well, he answered the question that he is capable of lasting a full season this year since he played a full, 162-game season. The next question is whether the 2016 season was a blip in terms of health, or a sign of things to come.
Next: Astros: Who's needed more? Beltran vs. Encarnacion
As the Astros look forward to the 2017 season, another starting pitcher is a must-add. Let’s just hope they don’t take one strength of the club to address this need. If not careful, Houston may create a new weakness to fill in the near future.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**