In an attempt to gain cost certainty with one of their top prospects, the Astros offered outfielder George Springer a seven-year, $23MM contract last September, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. Since Springer has yet to reach the Major Leagues, the deal would've covered his three pre-arbitration years, his three arbitration years and his first year of free agency.
As Rosenthal notes, Houston's offer resembles Evan Longoria's initial contract with the Rays, a six-year, $17.5MM deal (plus three more years of team options) that quickly became one of the most team-friendly deals in recent baseball history once Longoria blossomed into a superstar. Longoria accepted the deal, however, just a few days into his Major League career and thus assured himself of at least one big payday even if he faltered in the Show.
Springer and his representatives at the Legacy Sports Group turned down the offer, a sign that Springer presumes his performance will eventually merit much more than a $23MM deal. A rival agent tells Rosenthal that Springer's three arbitration years alone could earn him more than $30MM if he lives up to expectations as a consensus top prospect.
Springer, 24, was taken with the 11th overall pick of the 2011 amateur draft and has been dominant in the minors, hitting .299/.394/.558 with 62 homers over 1203 PA and stealing 81 bases in 97 attempts. The 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook ranks Springer as Houston's second-best prospect (behind Carlos Correa), and despite his strikeouts and some doubts about his ability to hit for average, "his arm, speed, power and defense all rate as at least plus tools." Baseball America ranks Springer as the 18th-best prospect in the game, while ESPN's Keith Law (19th) and MLB.com (21st) provide similar rankings.
Springer isn't going to make the Astros' Opening Day roster, which the team argues is due to his need for more minor league seasoning (and a poor Spring Training performance). As Rosenthal rhetorically asks, however, "why would the Astros offer a major-league contract to a player who lacks any semblance of leverage if they do not believe he is capable of playing in the majors?" The practice of keeping prospects in the minors long enough that they can't gain Super Two status is the larger focus of Rosenthal's piece, which he notes is frowned upon by fans, some players and MLBPA chief Tony Clark since it keeps teams from fielding their best possible talent.
The Astros signed second baseman Jose Altuve to a four-year, $12.5MM extension (with two option years) last summer, marking GM Jeff Luhnow's first move towards locking up one of his club's young building blocks. Other top prospects like Correa, Mark Appel, Mike Foltynewicz and more are all team-controlled through the rest of the decade, though one wonders if Luhnow would pursue a Springer-type extension with any of these young stars as well once they're a bit slower to the Major League level.
, ? !
At $3.2MM per year, this deal is atrocious for him if he’s anything except a huge bust.
Its a bit more complex than that…
A lot more complex than that.
He gets delayed another year.
He is very possibly not going to make 23 million over the next seven seasons 2014-2020
Considering the first 3 years he would make around 500k, it is a huge gamble on both parties. Ultimately he could make a lot more money but he could also get hurt, be a bust and never reach even close to that number.
It was a fair market value to sign for a player not even being in the majors yet but I understand turning it down since he believes he will outplay that figure, won’t get hurt and so forth
Not even to mention that if the Astros do now keep him down the whole year and part of next he will probably have to work pretty hard to outearn this.
Well he will be up before June, It just a risk on both parties, players get hurt and flame out all the time. Yet he could very well outplay that contract if he is healthy and plays as well as he is capable
There is no promise he will be up before June.
The money might not be right, but this deal is fair and right for both parties.
It would be in springers interest to work something out if possible before od (yes I know this was last sept).
He could be up od, and have promised money for life, and still find a new contract one day. He isn’t losing any years here.
it’d be nice to see them lock him up now, but in today’s market i don’t see him signing for anything less than $35mill over 7yrs
Not a lot of players named George these days.
I think the Astros are way more worried about controlling and projecting costs than they are at fielding the “best possible talent”. They know they aren’t going to win this year, but gaining that extra year of control could really help when they are in the midst of making a run (hopefully) in the following years.
Springer is already 24? Makes sense to reject.
*closer to the majors, probably don’t want to extend players slow to the majors.
Worth a short by the astros, doesn’t seem like a ridiculous offer by the Astros. Springer seems like the ultimate boom or bust prospect. Could be extremely good or his lack of contact could do him in the majors. At the same time can’t blame Springer for not wanting to sacrifice a FA and a potentially a lot more money. Guessing if he did sign though, he would be deemed major league ready immediately.
Considering the Astros can simply keep him down for a month and control him for the same amount of time as a 7-year deal would cover, seems like a pretty big gamble on Springer’s part. I don’t see how you could turn that down knowing that, unless there was a team option or two as part of the offer that’s not being mentioned.
He isn’t sacrificing any free agent years.
Astros are going to keep him in the minors so they control his 2020 season any way.
With a seven year deal, he at least gets paid in 2014
That was exactly my thought as well. If he had signed the deal he’d be a lock to start the year with the Astros. Now he probly won’t be up until June.
This kid has not played one inning in the majors and to turn down 23 mil is so risky. How many top prospects raked through AAA and faded in the mlb if they even make it. Yes this kid could make 30 mil in arb or he could make 0.
Springer hit a mere .167 ish in ST….. In his chance to work himself onto the OD roster…..Hunter Pence at the same age, hit around .400-.500 in ST and the Astrps sent him down … A few months later was pulled up.
Huhter pence 2007 ST and was still sent down > “After leading the Astros in all three major hitting categories by hitting .571/.647/1.071 in Major League spring training, Pence began 2007 with the Round Rock Express and hit .341/.398/.588 in 22 games before getting called up to the 2007 Astros on April 27. ”
Springer has a .160 ish BA. Big difference
“… frowned upon by fans, some players and MLBPA chief Tony Clark since it keeps teams from fielding their best possible talent.”
Is that really why it’s frowned upon by MLBPA chief Tony Clark?