Hey, George Springer. Welcome to Canada. Leave your trash can back in Houston, but bring that big bat, that outstanding glove and the leadership for which you’re known.
Toronto Blue Jays made one of the biggest splashes of baseball’s off-season in mid-January by signing Springer, one of the most coveted free agents on the market.
The 31-year-old Springer said he would agree to perform for the Jays for the next six years in exchange for $150 million (U.S.) flowing into his bank account.
The fresh and powerful new look of the Jays’ lineup is giving Canadian fans reason to believe that it could be 1992 and 1993 all over again in World Series lore.
Suddenly, undoubtedly, the Blue Jays have one of the best teams in baseball.
Their outfield is crowded with all-star calibre skill, but while manager Charlie Montoyo can play only three outfielders at a time, the overflow beyond the infield gives general manager Ross Atkins a stack of potential trading chips that even poker star Daniel Negreanu would envy.
After the Springer news flashed across the baseball world — one day after Toronto nabbed free agent closer Kirby Yates, one of the best in the game — one U.S. journalist projected a potential Jays’ lineup on opening day (and if this team isn’t World series bound, then Rob Manfred is commissioner for life): CF Springer; 2B Cavan Biggio; DH Randal Grichuk; SS Bo Bichette; 3B Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.; 1B Rowdy Tellez; LF lourdes Gurriel; RF Teoscar Hernandez; C Danny Jansen.
Then put last season’s big free-agent acquisition, Hyun Jin Ryu, on the mound and the 1927 Yankees in their prime might be begging for mercy.
Springer played a key role in Houston’s World Series championship of 2017, a title that evolved into a major controversy a year later when pitcher Mike Fiers, a former Astro-turned-Oakland-A, spilled the beans about technological cheating that involved banging a trash can a certain way to signify to the batter what pitch was on the way.
A few higher ups in the Astros organization lost their jobs, but players were somehow insulated from the negative fallout.
It was Springer, remember, who was the World Series MVP that year.
Jays’ fans will enjoy watching Springer and his new mates in action, whether it’s in person in Toronto (unlikely), in Buffalo (where the Jays’ home base was last year); or on TV, where Rogers’ ratings are expected to skyrocket, bringing in plenty of advertising dough and making those huge contracts more manageable.
Yes, it could be a great Spring(er) in Canada this year.
- Blogger Chad Picasner, on veteran (and chubby) third baseman Pablo Sandoval: “In his day, Pablo was very good around the plate — both home plate and the dinner plate.”
• Michael Clair of MLB.com, on the late Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda’s run-in with mascots Youppi, Phillie Phanatic and San Diego Chicken: “Probably for the best that Lasorda never appeared on ‘Sesame Street.’ ”
- Peter King, of NBC.com. on the challenge facing new Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer after 17 years of success coaching college football: “Meyer’s about to learn that Akron’s not on the Jags’ 2021 schedule but Seattle and Buffalo are. “
- Olivia Jones, on Twitter: “11-year-old son (raised a Canucks fan) has randomly decided to start cheering for the Leafs . . . he’s now free to a good home.”
- Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes said he went through concussion protocol. That is the good news. The bad news is that he made the announcement into a banana while on the toilet in a bathroom stall.”
- RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “A spicy peanut butter six times hotter than the strongest chili was being sold in England under the label Instant Regret. No, wait — that may be the name of a new Jacksonville Jaguars season ticket package.”
- From fark.com: “NFL confirms that it will be proceeding with its Super Spreader event in February, but it’s going to limit infections to only 22,000 people or so.”
- Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Yogi Berra, the late Yankees legend, is about to get his own commemorative postage stamp. New U.S. Postal Service motto: It ain’t delivered till it’s delivered.”
• Nets coach Steve Nash, to reporters, on why he’ll manage James Harden’s minutes early on: “We don’t want to run the batteries down on our new Christmas present this early.”
• Chad Picasner again, on Urban Meyer taking the Jaguars’ head-coaching job after twice quitting college gigs for health reasons: “Of course, the best treatment for that is money. … I’m sure he feels better already.”
• Mike Hart of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, after trash-talking Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Packers wideout Davante Adams got into some pregame chirping before their NFC playoff game: “Ramsey, of course, has never been diagnosed with lockjaw.”
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By Bruce Penton