The shortened 2020 season could actually help the Houston Astros retain George Springer.
Arguably the biggest topic on the minds of Houston Astros fans this coming offseason will be the status of star outfielder George Springer. He’s one of the most accomplished players in the clubhouse and one of the most beloved by fans, and he’s about to become a free agent.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Springer would’ve been positioned to sign for well beyond $100 million if he put together a solid walk year. His strong power and defense, combined with the fact that the 2017 World Series MVP trophy sits on his shelf, would’ve given him plenty of suitors. It might have even priced him out of the Astros’ range.
But the financial damage done to all 30 MLB clubs by the pandemic is strong. Many teams, if not all of them, will be playing in empty stadiums, depriving owners of a substantial portion of their typical revenues. Teams may be operating at a loss this year, and that’ll only get worse if a Coronavirus outbreak prevents the league from completing the postseason.
Naturally, that could carry over into the offseason. Teams who’ve spent the past year in the red may be less willing to spend in free agency, which will affect Springer and pretty much every other free agent out there. Whoever signs Springer will still have to pony up some money, but I’d be surprised if it’s at the same level it would have been if 2020 had been a normal year.
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The Astros are losing money too, of course, but they’re in a better financial situation than many other teams. When Forbes ranked them as the 11th most valuable MLB franchise earlier this year, they also noted that the Astros had the highest profit of any team in 2019. So even though 2020 is tough for them, just as it is for every team, their past financial success will help.
The Astros certainly have the desire to bring him back, as letting him leave would create a big hole in the outfield and in the lineup. With Josh Reddick and Michael Brantley also set to become free agents, it’s almost necessary to retain Springer if the team intends to remain a World Series contender in 2021.
Owner Jim Crane also recently said the team will be aggressive this offseason, so regardless of how the market plays out, expect the Astros to be right there in the mix. There’s no guarantee until pen is put to paper, but fans have plenty of reason to be hopeful that Springer will remain in Houston beyond this season.