TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays finalized and announced their $150-million, six-year contract with star outfielder George Springer on Saturday, a deal that includes some front-loading of the biggest financial commitment in franchise history.
According to an industry source, a $10-million signing bonus along with a $22 million salary this year kick off the agreement, followed by a $28 million outlay in 2022. Springer’s salary scales back to $22.5 million in 2023 through the contract’s conclusion in 2026, a move that creates some flexibility for the Blue Jays as their young core begins to earn more through salary arbitration.
Performance bonuses for Springer include $150,000 if he is named MVP, $125,000 if he finishes second, $100,000 if he is third and $75,000 if he is fourth. Each selection as an all-star, Gold Glove winner, Silver Slugger and World Series MVP is worth an extra $50,000, and he has an eight-team no-trade clause.
Springer, 31, settled on the Blue Jays on Tuesday night, a bold stroke for a team on the rise seeking progress to the next level. He’ll plug into centre field and provide a proven offensive support to augment a young group built around Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Teoscar Hernandez.
The Blue Jays remain on the hunt for more talent, with additional pitching and an infielder the priorities.
How the Blue Jays will account for his signing bonus wasn’t immediately clear, but assuming it’s all on the 2021 payroll tab, they now have just under $107 million committed to 12 players.
Budget in an additional $10 million or so for the club’s pre-arbitration players, and the team is sitting at roughly $117 million before making any additional adds.
The club’s limit for this year is unknown but club president and CEO Mark Shapiro said back in October that “we will conduct this off-season much like last off-season,” when the team added roughly $53.5 million to the 2020 payroll (before the pandemic caused pro-ration).
So far this winter, they’ve tacked on their 2021 tab $32 million for Springer (assuming again the full $10 million bonus is accounted for this year), $8 million for Robbie Ray, $5.5 million for Kirby Yates (with the potential for an additional $4.5 million in incentives) and $3 million for Tyler Chatwood (with the potential for an additional $2.5 million in incentives).