George Springer is no longer a Houston Astro.
Springer is in agreement on a six-year, $150 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, as first reported by Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
It’s a devastating loss for the Astros. Springer is a generational talent and one of the most important players in recent team history. He established himself as a star roaming center field at Minute Maid Park and played a pivotal role in the team’s recent postseason dominance. It leaves a massive hole in center field for Houston and puts the pressure on general manager James Click to find capable replacement(s).
Expecting any free-agent outfielder to replicate Springer’s production, or coming anywhere close to it, is unrealistic. His impact, both offensively and defensively, cannot be matched. He is an elite defensive outfielder and one of the best hitting center fielders in baseball, providing instant production atop the lineup. So it will take multiple players for Houston to ease the loss of Springer. Even then, they may not provide the same production as the 31-year-old — making the challenge of replacing him even more difficult.
The Astros will now pivot to Michael Brantley and Jackie Bradley Jr., but it is no guarantee that the Astros will land either target. Brantley is a realistic possibility to join Springer in Toronto, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, and Bradley Jr. is drawing interest from multiple teams, including the Boston Red Sox.
The coming days will be critical for the Astros in how they proceed with replacing Springer. It is a possibility they have braced for months and knew was inevitable. And late Tuesday night, it became reality.
The pressure is on Click to properly address the outfield. And if he doesn’t find Springer replacements soon, it could significantly impact the Astros’ postseason chances before the season even starts.