I know the Astros have lots of needs to address entering this offseason. They have some free agents, voids to fill due to injuries, and holes they need to cover with trades or more free agents. But, please, they can’t let franchise icon George Springer go and sign with another team.
There’s no doubt that Springer will be the most difficult one to sign out of the group formed by him, Josh Reddick, and Michael Brantley. George is the youngest, is an all-around player, and impressed again with his offense in 2020 (both regular season and postseason).
But —and, hey, I’m serious— the Astros won’t be completely lost if they lose both Reddick and Brantley. In general terms, the former has not been the same since 2017 and the latter is a great, pure hitter, but not impossible to replace.
I’m aware of what it’d take to bring Springer back. Considering the recent market’s behavior, maybe something around five years and $25M per season could do it. And, luckily, the Astros might be in a position to afford that kind of contract, especially when one can assume there will be some kind of insurance policy if Justin Verlander is going to miss all 2021.
It’s also true that Carlos Correa is gonna be a free agent after 2021 as well, but Houston will unload Zack Greinke, (probably) Roberto Osuna, and Verlander’s massive contracts. So it won’t be impossible in terms of money. BUT at the same time, they have to pray for Forrest Whitley to finally get the job done and become at least a great number two to help the rotation survive without those two veterans.
I acknowledge the Astros are counting on Whitley. If things don’t pan out for him eventually, it’s gonna get really difficult for them to pay for an ace-caliber pitcher besides having the contracts of Springer, Correa, Altuve, and company.
But reality tells us that GM James Click needs to decide NOW —without thinking much about Whitley— whether to re-sign Springer or not. And he should for several reasons!
- He can do it all. Heck! George can even carry the lineup on his shoulders and has already done so before. He can hit for power, can hit for a good average, can run, can play a respectable center field, and has a decent arm.
- Solid production. Springer didn’t stop improving until he became a slugger. From 2016 to 2019, he averaged 26 doubles and 31 home runs per season, before launching 14 more rockets in only 51 games in the 2020 shortened season.
- He’s a game-changer in the postseason. None of Springer’s stats in the regular season can be compared to the numbers he’s put in the postseason. He’s a .269/.349/.546 career hitter in 63 lifetime games in October with so many clutch hits for the Astros. In fact, the 31-year-old (won’t turn 32 until next September) is just days removed from hitting four home runs between the ALDS and the ALCS.
- There’s no one to replace him. Go take a look at the Astros’ top 30 prospects and you’ll find no one with clear chances to replace Springer right away. The only option for the Astros to fill Springer’s potential void is bringing someone on a transaction, but the Astros don’t have the best farm system to think they could trade for someone. Besides, there wouldn’t be a better option than Springer in the FA.
The Astros will have busy off seasons in the upcoming years and will face the challenge of locking youngsters to contract extensions. But committing to Springer might be the best way to start.