Union, George Springer’s Agent Considering Grievance

SUNDAY: "We'd never use a contract tool to affect a person.  They're separate, the business aspect and playing aspect," Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

SATURDAY: The MLBPA and George Springer's agent Greg Genske are considering pursuing recourse over the matter of Springer's service time, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Genske and the union have not decided what action they will take, if any, but Drellich writes that a grievance appears to be at least a possibility. It is also possible that Springer and the union will take no action.

Springer turned down a seven-year contract from the Astros, and they later sent him to the minors to start the season, perhaps in part because of worries over his service time. If Springer had agreed to the deal, his service time would no longer have been an issue, and the Astros might have been less concerned about having him start the season in the big leagues (although Springer only has 266 plate appearances at Triple-A, so having him start 2014 there isn't necessarily unreasonable, even leaving service time aside).

If Springer were to stick in the big leagues from Opening Day on, he could become eligible for free agency following the 2019 season rather than the 2020 season. Also, the timing of his promotion within the 2014 could affect whether he is eligible for arbitration three times or four, a difference that would likely amount to millions of dollars. Such considerations are routine in the timelines of promotions of top young players, but they do not always sit well with players or fans, since they can prevent worthy players from being in the Major Leagues.

73 Responses to Union, George Springer’s Agent Considering Grievance Leave a Reply

  1. Spencer Smith 1 year ago

    Hitting about a buck sixty had NOTHING to do with it, I’m sure.

    • kungfucampby 1 year ago

      If the Astros are making decisions based on 39 Spring Training at-bats then they have bigger problems than this union grievance.

      • LazerTown 1 year ago

        Long term, sure it’s bad mo. But I think it gives you pause enough that you should leave him in the minors just to get things going.

      • johnnycomelately9 1 year ago

        He did lead there team in most counting categories. He’s still striking out too much so they can make a good argument that he has some things to work on but if he signed that deal he’d be there starting CF and rookie of the year candidate.

  2. Federal League 1 year ago

    The attempt to extend Springer and then demote him probably wasn’t the smartest play.

    It’s worth noting, though, that Springer currently has a higher career minor league K rate than Brandon Wood. In his defense, he’s flashed more power at the higher levels, taken more walks, and did cut his strikeouts a bit at AAA.

    • Kennon Riley 1 year ago

      The contract extension and rejection was in September.

      • Federal League 1 year ago

        I’m not sure that’s entirely relevant. Just offering it indicates that they believe he could play at a high level and were looking for a good deal.

        • Kennon Riley 1 year ago

          When Strasburg signed his deal, did this indicate that the Nationals believed that he could play at the major league level immediately? No?
          Same case with George Springer.

          • Federal League 1 year ago

            I don’t think the two situations are as comparable as you do. Springer has already played two full seasons in the minor leagues.

            In Strasburg’s case he was the number one overall pick with a year of eligibility left to use as leverage. Giving him a major league deal [which isn’t possible for draft picks anymore] did indeed show that the Nationals felt very good about his ability to get to the majors and perform very quickly. That he was promoted the season after he was drafted after just 55 1/3 innings further confirms this.

            That the Astros were trying to lock Springer up when he doesn’t really have any leverage over them [such as going back to college] seems to indicate that they believe he’s going to be a good player.

          • TigerFan1968 1 year ago

            Comparing Strasbourg to Springer is like comparing Secretariat to a plow horse. Springer has shown very little yet. Most top prospects tear it up in spring training.

          • Kennon Riley 1 year ago

            I suppose nearly having the first 40-40 season in the minors in over half a century is showing very little?

          • John Cate 1 year ago

            That was still 55 1/3 more innings than Strasburg ever should have thrown in the minors, but the point is absolutely correct. There’s nothing in common between Strasburg and Springer.

        • psabella 1 year ago

          They may have believed it in September but reconsidered after his spring performance at the mendoza line.

          • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

            By that thinking the Astros look even more foolish. If they were willing to attempt a long term deal with him in September with less than 300 ABs above double-A to his credit but won’t put him on the roster because of going 14 for 39 in spring training then the Astros are just plain dumb. Either you believe in what your scouts and minor league managers are reporting to you or you don’t. If you offer a guy $23 million before his first big league AB and then flinch when he hits a buck-sixty you probably shouldn’t be making these kinds of decisions at all.

          • Kennon Riley 1 year ago

            *Perhaps* let me stress PERHAPS the Astros have nothing personal against Springer. Did they not send down 6 top prospects at one time? Why does everyone ALWAYS assume that the world is out to get a player? The roster moves were because Houston has some players that are out of options (Valdes, Harrell) that they still want on the team. Springer is not on the 40-man roster. When they remove those assets then Springer can be promoted. As for his spring training, he did not force his way on to the roster. I really cannot see any argument for him to have forced his way onto the team. What he accomplished last season was last season. It’s not like a player has been hot all year to never regain that form. Stop pretending that Springer is a god and let him go to the minors and do work.

          • Teufelshunde4 1 year ago

            Do you really think its solely the box score teams use to decide which player they want? Springer could have hit 160 and been stinging he ball all over the field. I am not claiming to know BTW. Not an Astro’s fan so i dont watch them.

            The Astro’s have opened this door with the contract rejection then no call up. Its ludicrous that they give him a extension only to be turned down then leave him in AAA. It looks really bad. Looks like the rich taking advantage of a young kid. Small market teams will never get bad PR for a service time call up. Houston is not a small market.

  3. cyberboo 1 year ago

    Just because a team wants to extend a player, it doesn’t guarantee they will see time in the majors any time soon. Teams sign their players all the time and while some extensions pay dividends, many others are a liability and handicap the team. If Springer doesn’t warrant being called up by overachieving in triple A, he will remain there all year. Prospects are a dime a dozen and just because scouts value them the way they do, there are no guarantees connected to that ranking. Many top prospects fail and are never heard from again or they become career minor leaguers. Springer did nothing in spring training to force his way onto the team, so he was demoted to the minors. Fans don’t need intelligence or to be a brain surgeon to see that. If he hit 400, with ten homeruns in spring training, he wouldn’t be in the minors again, but that wasn’t the case.

    • Federal League 1 year ago

      The team is trying to give him $23MM dollars and secure his first free agent year because they aren’t sure he can play in the majors? It sounds dubious.

      If they weren’t bullish on his chances, they’d probably just run him out there for the league minimum for his first 3 seasons.

      • cyberboo 1 year ago

        so, let me get this straight. You believe a person should be handed a job due to the money they make. So in other words, if Tanaka bombs in New York, they are then forced to keep running him out there, even if he gives up 10 runs a game and instant loss each time. Gee, good thing you aren’t a GM, you would finish last every year. lol. This may be news to you in your fantasy world, but players have to earn their place in the majors. It isn’t a video game. Teams want players to succeed, not fail, and by pushing him out there before he is ready guarantees failure and he joins a long list of failed players that were rushed to the show and then bombed. I guess if you don’t care, then it explains your comment. Fact of life, you don’t perform your job, you get fired, you aren’t rewarded for it.

        • Federal League 1 year ago

          I never said a player should play based on his salary.

          I said if the team wasn’t bullish on his chances to play in the major leagues they probably wouldn’t be offering him an extension before he’s even taken one big league at-bat.

          Stop constructing straw man arguments to take down.

          • cyberboo 1 year ago

            There, you clarified your comment and I agree with you that the Astros shouldn’t offer any extension before the player has at least one year in the majors to see if it is warranted. That isn’t what you said, which prompted my response. Now that you have clarified it, we are in agreement.

          • Federal League 1 year ago

            I didn’t “clarify” anything. It’s clear as day in the original comment. The problem is on your end with your reading comprehension.

          • cyberboo 1 year ago

            Instead of saying thank you, you attack what I said, showing your immaturity. Shall I quote you. Yes let me quote YOU. “The team is trying to give him $23MM dollars and secure his first free agent year because they aren’t sure he can play in the majors? It sounds dubious.

            If they weren’t bullish on his chances, they’d probably just run him out there for the league minimum for his first 3 seasons.”

            That is what YOU said, not me. So admit you were wrong and leave it at that.

          • Federal League 1 year ago



          • Koby2 1 year ago

            Oh my, you really should reread what you quoted again. He really didn’t need to clarify anything, it was all there.

          • Guest 1 year ago

            He didn’t need to clarify.

          • GoAstros00 1 year ago

            He wasn’t attacking you.

        • Hills of Glenallen 1 year ago

          I hope that’s what happens to Tanaka after the money the Yankees spent on the guy.

      • Tools_of_Ignorance 1 year ago

        Starting him in the minors after that contract offer is not dubious; they are not even related. Though unorthodox, the contract offer is based on a projection – a fair contract that divides the risk equally to both parties. As currently developed, Springer should begin in AAA – contract or not.

        • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

          Why? Because he might hinder the winning of a team that posted three consecutive 100-loss seasons?

          • John Cate 1 year ago

            If the Astros actually cared about winning games, rather than stealing money from the other 29 teams and what few fans they have left, they would have called him up around July of last year. How the Astros have managed to avoid the opprobrium that gets laid on the Marlins is beyond me, because if anything, the Astros have operated more disgracefully than the Marlins ever have.

          • Christopher Rioux 1 year ago

            Why start him on the MLB roster and start his service clock? Because he might help a team that posted three consecutive 100-loss seasons to a season of only 97 losses?

          • Kennon Riley 1 year ago

            They should win 70 games this season.

          • Christopher Rioux 1 year ago

            Wow. Yeah. That totally invalidates the entire point of what I said.

            Oh. No. Wait. It doesn’t.

            And even if it did, like there’s a huge difference between 92 losses and 97 losses?

            C’mon, man…

          • Kennon Riley 1 year ago

            There’s a huge difference when you’re referencing a 20 game improvement

          • Christopher Rioux 1 year ago

            That affects neither of my statements.

    • Chris Koch 1 year ago

      Some Prospects really don’t follow the “hyped but failed” It all depends on what they were hyped on. Defensive players get valued more with hopes their hitting is solid enough to keep that special defense on the field.
      Springer is a 5tool player power/speed combo. The 7year deal wasn’t going to be a bad one, he’s certainly capable of sticking on the field with a long leash due to his tools.

    • Damon Bowman 1 year ago

      “Teams sign their players all the time and while some extensions pay dividends, many others are a liability and handicap the team.”

      Name one time when a team has offered a 7-year deal to a player without a single AB in the Major Leagues yet. If they made that offer, they fully expect that he’s going to play in the Show very soon and produce almost immediately.

    • John Cate 1 year ago

      He could have hit anything within reason and they would have sent him down anyway. They’re gaming his service time, period. What a player hits in a few dozen spring training at-bats means absolutely nothing. The Astros are playing the system, which is about the only thing they’re good at.

  4. EightMileCats 1 year ago

    If they file grievance and win, it may set a bad precedent for smaller market teams… Leaving an up and coming prospect in the minors for a couple of months nets those teams who cannot afford 6 digit contacts an extra year of possible contention and has been done for quite some time now.
    On the other hand, if a player is really ready for the show… its not necessarily fair for them to be denied potential earnings.
    Really a sticky situation

    • steelparrot 1 year ago

      Assuming there isnt an option issue for a late bloomer(aka Neil Walker), my pirates do it to every good prospect, doing it to 2 players right now(Polanco and Taillon). They even left kind of obvious holes for them to fill in June.

      They always say ‘He needs to work on some things’. Its obvious to anyone paying attention they are playing super 2 games, but I guess its kind of hard for anyone to argue they dont have things to work on imo.

      • EightMileCats 1 year ago

        While I would agree… What the Astros did here was offer a contract to make the Super 2 status meaningless and then when he didn’t bite… immediately shipped him down.

        Bad move on the Astros part that makes the idea of this grievance have some legs.

    • oh Hal 1 year ago

      The chance of them winning, much less filing is pretty small. I’d guess its so small that MLB execs literally laugh at the idea. I’d say the best case scenario is it goes to a hearing and the union loses but makes a public statement that is quickly forgotten.

    • SgtSchmidt11 1 year ago

      I think the bigger issue is that they offered him a contract and then kept him down when he refused, not that they are keeping him down.

    • John Cate 1 year ago

      Teams already get six years of club control. That’s been the rule ever since the McNally-Messersmith decision. That’s plenty. It’s about time that someone closed the loophole that lets teams cheat and get 6.75 years.

      The system is already ridiculously tilted in favor of the clubs for most of the prime years of every player’s career. The Angels have paid about $500,000 each for two seasons of $40 million a year caliber baseball from Mike Trout.

  5. Seamaholic 1 year ago

    I find what the Astros have done very odd. This guy is a super-top prospect, and he’s 24, which is actually a bit on the older side to make a ML debut for a talent like that. If he signs a 7 year contract they have him through age 31. So why not bring him up?

    Also, can an Astros fan let me know whether this guy is a real CF or not? If so, why the heck did they trade a 23 year old with a decent arm (Lyles) for a CF who makes real money (Fowler)? Something’s strange here.

    • steelparrot 1 year ago

      Here is why not to bring him up:

      If they keep him down for at least 20 or 30 days(they round up less to a full year of service time), they get 6 years 5 months before he hits free agency, albeit with 4 arbitration years(super 2 status).

      If they keep him down till mid June, this is about the time to insure no Super 2, they get 6ys and 3.5 months out of him, 3 min salary 3 arbitration.

      • Seamaholic 1 year ago

        OK, so what do they do with Fowler when they bring Springer up? Who plays left field (Fowler has basically never done it as a pro)?

        • steelparrot 1 year ago

          Fowler will be a free agent at the end of the year, Since they are probably locking up another #1 draft pick, I guess they trade him.

          • Seamaholic 1 year ago

            Fowler’s got two years left. They’re going to have to move someone to a corner outfield soon.

        • Jared Coats 1 year ago

          Lunhow said just recently that Springer is going to move to right field to allow the Astros the chance to have both he and Fowler in the lineup. Grossman and Hoes will be the other outfielders and it’s looking like Grossman will play left and Hoes will be the 4th outfielder when/if Springer gets called up.

    • Paul Ryan Stivender 1 year ago

      They are putting him in RF and I believe the organization has said they are going to get him RF reps in AAA.

  6. Kennon Riley 1 year ago

    Technically he was never demoted. He is not apart of the 40-man roster. He was INVITED to camp and then was reassigned to the minor leagues. Quit complaining about perceptions, go to the minor leagues and get your work in.

  7. mstrchef13 1 year ago

    I have no sympathy for any professional baseball player who turns down guaranteed money. What right does the union have to tell a team who should be on their major league roster? Winning a grievance such as this would set such an enormously bad precedent. Remember last month when we all mocked Scott Boras for telling the Blue Jays to trade Adam Lind and sign his client Kendrys Morales? How is this different than what the union is considering doing?

    • Joshua Ryan 1 year ago

      “I have no sympathy for any professional baseball player who turns down guaranteed money.”
      That’s because you don’t understanding economics or are just willfully ignorant to the amount of money being generated around baseball, most of which is going into the owner’s pockets. $23 million over seven seasons is a pittance compared to what he could be earning.

      • Guest 1 year ago

        I understand economics perfectly fine. I also understand that it’s millionaires and billionaires, and I don’t give a crap about how much either of them is making so long as I’m barely making my paycheck last until the next one. I have no problems with owners making money. It’s a business, and the owners have a right to make however much money they can. Neither players nor owners have any loyalty to each other, and the lot of them have no loyalty to the fans. I’m all for players getting what they can while they can, but that doesn’t mean I have to feel sad for poor George Springer because $23 million guaranteed isn’t good enough for a player who isn’t even on his team’s 40-man roster. It also doesn’t mean I can’t mock the ridiculousness of the union proposing to file a grievance over the decision to not include a guy hitting .161 in spring training on the Opening Day roster.

      • mstrchef13 1 year ago

        I understand economics just fine. I understand how much money is being generated around baseball just fine. It’s a business, and owners have every right for their businesses to make as much profit as possible. I have no sympathy for poor George Springer, who decided that 7/23 wasn’t enough money for someone who hasn’t even made his organization’s 40 man roster yet. I also have every right to mock the union for even considering filing a grievance against a team for not putting a non-roster invitee who hit .161 in spring training on the Opening Day roster. Perhaps 7/23 is a pittance compared to what he could be earning, but it’s also about $23MM more than he should earn if he turns into Brett Wallace.

      • TheRealRyan 1 year ago

        This offer is hardly a pittance. There is a very good chance Springer doesn’t earn $23 million before becoming a FA. Not even taking into account the bust potential, just look at Jason Heyward. Heyward was the #1 prospect in baseball. He is a five-tool player who has a career OPS+ of 115 and wRC+ of 119. He is an above average baserunner and gold glove OF who has averaged 4-4.5 WAR a season. He will earn about $17.5 million before becoming a FA. I think Springer was foolish to turn down this guaranteed money.

  8. stillwaiting 1 year ago

    i don’t understand what exactly the grievance would be about, that he deserves to be on the big league roster based on the fact that they wanted to sign him to a deal? seems extremely childish to me

    i really hope this whole thing drops quickly…

    • Chris Koch 1 year ago

      It looks like a bribe to me. Sign our 7 year deal or we will keep you in the minors and own you anyway for the next 7years but getting only 6.5playing years from him. It’s guaranteed money yes but, should Springer made the
      opening day roster he’d be a FA come 2020 in for a big payday. If he’s on the team for Super 2 Status, better believe he’s going to make way more than 23mil. But, sitting him in the minors after Super status goes by and Springer more than likely has a hard time making much more in 7years than the proposed offer. Likely in the 30mil range(of course he needs 4-5 productive years/avoiding serious injury to see that 7mil increase)
      The grievance part to me is that it is so obvious what advantage Houston was trying to take with Springer with their offer. It would have been a different story had Houston threw in say a 12-17mil option year on an 8th year. Or if they had it as 12-15mil for year 7 which under the circumstances would sound like a steal for a FA year if he works out.
      If Springer turns out as a Stud his 1st FA year stands to be worth 23mil probably all on its own.

      • Christopher Rioux 1 year ago

        The lack of an option isn’t Houston taking advantage of Springer. It’s Houston making a mistake that costs them and only them. Think about it. Why, if you’re Springer, would you want the team to hold an option that would result in you being paid less than you could command on the open market?

        I don’t necessarily disagree with the rest of your post. But the second half of your post is backward and 100% wrong.

  9. The Astros could just say they planned to start him in the minors regardless of the extension so as to get him more seasoning – saying something like…”The logic behind the extension was to overpay him early, when he would be making pennies in the minors and first years of league minimum, to secure the latter years of the deal.”

  10. Chris Koch 1 year ago

    The very moment I read the proposed 7year deal i knew it was all about starting Springer in the Majors this year if accepted or sending him down and keeping his clock and team control for what amounts to that “7th” year. It was a “Bribe” to Springer. Take our deal you start your career in a couple weeks. Don’t and we won’t be seeing you up until mid-June. The guaranteed money changes for him. Likely from 500k/525k/550k 2015-2017 the three years before Arb now. Vs. him likely getting 550k this year 750k 2015 1mil 2016. 1.5mil 2017.
    I don’t know what to say about the deal. Genious? Or Absurd!

    • Kennon Riley 1 year ago

      The deal was offered in September. Astros would renew contract at league minimum the first 3 seasons without a contract.

  11. Brandon 1 year ago

    The argument one way or the other on “if the Astros are doing this for service time or not” is irrelevant. That’s what the system is. Sorry. If you don’t like it, don’t file a personal grievance, rally the players union to fight to change the system next negotiation. Until then, sorry. It’s a business. Honestly, if Springer somehow won a grievance, EVERY minor league player who thought they could play in the majors (which is all of them, btw) would follow suit.

  12. LazerTown 1 year ago

    Fact is that is the way the CBA that both sides negotiated works. It basically gives teams 6.75 years of service times. If you don’t agree with that then negotiate the cutoff, maybe make it the trading deadline to set the service time back another year.

  13. Red_Line_9 1 year ago

    Who leaked the story the day before Springer was sent down that he was offered the extension last fall? That seems fishy, and potentially has the appearance of a player representative trying to pressure a team
    into rostering someone. I don’t think he has m
    uch leg to stand on. Of course he’s being held down because of service time… but all the Astros need to mention to an arbiter are his 161 MiLB K’s last season

    • publius varrus 1 year ago

      Should his 37 HR, 68 xbh, 45 SB, 83 BB, and .411 OBP in 2013 get a mention? His performance in 2 other leagues suggest the PCL numbers aren’t a mirage. :)

      • Red_Line_9 1 year ago

        I agree…in any baseball universe that exists beyond finance…he should get a shot at improving the Astros.

  14. Stephen J. Puopolo 1 year ago

    I’m not sure what the problem is. He turned down a 7 year deal that would have given him more say. Astros decided to hang onto him longer. What’s he whining about?

    • johnnycomelately9 1 year ago

      The team offered him a 7 year deal for 23M. He didn’t take it. By sending him to the minors the team gets to keep him for 7 years and by waiting he goes through arbitration 3 times instead of 4. With players like Headley getting 10M this season in arbs, it’s foul play on the Astros part to lie about his clock noy playing a role. If he signed the deal he would be on their major league roster as he’s one of their best players and leading there team in most counting categories despite hitting for a low average this spring. They are deliberately costing him money to save money, and it’s the player associations job to file a grievance for him and future players.

      • Stephen J. Puopolo 1 year ago

        Just don’t see what the Astros are doing wrong. If they are putting all that money into him for a future investment then why shouldn’t they try to keep him in the organization a little longer? Sounds like sour grapes on the part of the player to me.

  15. dave 1 year ago

    Interesting concept: the player, not the team decides who is on the roster. Would MLB rosters expand to 1, 000, 000 per team to accommodate the demand?

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