TORONTO — Outfielder George Springer became the most prominent among baseball’s free agents to reach an agreement, a $150 million, six-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press late Tuesday night.
The deal, still subject to a successful physical, would be the largest contract in team history.
The Mets were believed to have had interest in Springer, who turned 31 in September. He's a three-time All-Star who spent his entire seven-season career with Houston and was World Series MVP when the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games for their first title in 2017. The championship was later tainted when it was discovered Houston illicitly stole signs that season.
He hit .265 with 14 homers and 32 RBIs in the shortened 2020 season, earning a prorated $7,777,778 from a $21 million salary.
Springer has a .270 career average with 174 home runs and 458 RBIs, including career bests of a .292 average with 39 homers and 96 RBIs in 2019.
In a slow free-agent market this year, only 21 of 181 players who became free agents following the World Series had entered Tuesday with agreements.
The Blue Jays have an emerging young core and are able to add at least one major contract before their younger players such as Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. earn a lot more. Toronto has been linked to most of the top free agents, but now have have the one they wanted most.
The upstart Blue Jays went 32-28 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, finishing third in the AL East behind Tampa Bay and the Yankees and qualifying for the expanded postseason. They were swept by the AL champion Rays in a three-game wild-card series.
They did so despite moving their home games to Buffalo after the Canadian government didn’t allow the team to play in Canada because of the COVID-19 risk of frequent travel throughout the United States. It’s not clear where the Blue Jays will begin the 2021 season.