We all know the type of season George Springer had in 2013. It was monstrous. In 492 at-bats last season between two levels, Springer batted .303 with 37 home runs, 108 RBI, 45 stolen bases, and above-average defense in the outfield. Power, contact, speed, defense, he’s got it all.
According to Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports), the Astros decided to reward Springer with his great play and offered him a 7-year deal worth $23 million. He rejected it.
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow took a page out of the Tampa Bay Rays playbook. As Rosenthal noted, the Rays offered Evan Longoria a 6-year, $17 million deal just six days after joining the MLB team in 2008. The Rays weren’t sure if Longoria would pan out, and this was an opportunity for Longoria to make a good amount of money even if he weren’t to become a star.
It all worked out for the Rays and Longoria, and 4 seasons later they agreed on another contract extension in the $100 million range.
It’s a risk. A risk for both parties involved.
I understand why Springer rejected the Astros offer. The reported offer would have bought out three arbitration years and one free agency year. Springer believes in himself and he can make a lot more money in arbitration if he continues to play like he did in 2013. If he busts, he will be knocking himself for not taking the easy cash.
It also made sense for the Astros to make that type of offer. If they could have a superstar-talent at a cheap price for several seasons, that enables other moves around the roster to be made. It’s also a risk for the Astros, hence why the offer wasn’t in the $40-$50 million range or more.
Some fans think the Astros offer was a disgrace. It wasn’t. It was an offer that could have set a 25-year old up for life. This is real life folks. A guaranteed $23 million contract will help lead you and your family to a very comfortable life. It’s a heck of a risk for Springer to say no to that money, but props to him for believing in himself.
For now, Springer will head to Oklahoma City and wait for the Astros to start his service clock later in the season. Had he signed, he likely would have been $23 million richer at Minute Maid Park in April 2014, instead, he hopes to see Minute Maid Park with a lot more cash earned in his pocket in 2015 and beyond.
And so do we.