Houston Astros: A long-term George Springer deal is critical to team vitality

Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** George Springer
Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** George Springer /

Houston Astros center fielder George Springer will be going into his final season under contract with the team. A long-term deal is vital. Why? Let’s look.

The Houston Astros‘ season could be on the horizon within the next month or so, depending on what type of deal that MLB and the MLBPA can come up with in terms of how they’re going to split the drastically reduced revenues amid a shortened baseball season.

There will be no fans in the stadiums — at least in the early goings — and having fans in those seats is a crucial piece to revenue pie that all teams covet in their multi-million dollar playpens.

To maximize revenue, you’d want stadiums packed to the brim every night but that’s necessarily the case for teams like the Houston Astros, where they can still ahead with packed crowds on the weekends and moderate crowds during the week.

This has been the business cycle of this team since their sharp curve in the profound success that started just shortly after the 2015 season.  With a World Series under their belt and three straight 100+ wins seasons to follow, there would be no stopping the Houston Astros‘ revenue choo-choo train until the coronavirus made its way into the United States.

Now we’re all dealing with battling a serious pandemic and it has players and owners grappling on how much money they’ll be losing this season plus re-assurances that the playing environment will be safe from infections.

The MLB has proposed a brief “Spring Training” in the middle of next month with a start around July 1.  The revenues would be split 50/50 and it would be an 82-game season, ensuring that the 2020 season would end on time and not interfere with the following season’s calendar.  Each team would play in their home markets and largely take on teams as opponents in their divisions and geographical regions.  A 50/50 split sounds great on paper but there will be problems with disparities between teams in large and small sports/media markets.

That notion will have to get worked out but at least it seems that league has secured a provider for their COVID-19 testing in Utah where they have converted a PED testing center to where they’d be able to test robustly.  Results would be generated within 24 hours which should be adequate for the MLB’s operations.

But as I preface to what the new world of baseball would look like at least in the short form, the Houston Astros have a serious problem to solve and it involves one of the best players in their current era of baseball.

You know I’m definitely talking about George Springer.  He is the lifeblood to this team, the engine that makes it go, the guy that keeps the team loose and one of the many alpha males that this team looks to in terms of leadership.  Not to mention that he’s typically the D.J. in the clubhouse when the team is in need of some fresh jams before and after games.

He’s what you’d call a “glue” guy, one that holds an intertwining of unique personalities and talents together.  In addition, he’s not too shabby of a baseball player either.  But with all of those traits, there’s going to be a charge to the Houston Astros’ expense account but it’s more than worth it.

I could absolutely see that Springer, 30, could wear the Houston Astros’ uniform for the rest of his career and he’d be totally happy about that but you do have to pay him what it’s worth.

He’ll need a new deal that’s going to be well north of $100 million for five years at least.  In light of

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that notion, I think he should be paid between $25 to $30 million per season during that span.

But with the team still having considerable commitments to Justin Verlander ($33M) along with pay raises to Roberto Osuna, Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr. with long-term deals already brokered for Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, tough decisions will have to be made.

It’s quite possible that this team will have to sacrifice giving up Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel, both strong contributors in order to have the cash to keep George.

But it’s worth it because this team goes just as much as he does and every penny thrown to him will count mightily.

But it’s time that the three-time All-Star, 2017 World Series MVP and two-time Silver Slugger gets paid what he deserves and that we all know that he won’t let us down.

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Although there’s uncertainty as to when this deal will get done, it will get done and hopefully, the coronavirus will be behind us and we can get back to a sense of normalcy in our lives, seeing a multitude of “Springer Dingers.”

Let’s go!