MLB

Springer: Blue Jays built to win for a long time

By Sports Desk January 27, 2021

George Springer believes the Toronto Blue Jays are "built to win for a long time" after arriving from the Houston Astros in a blockbuster move in free agency.

The Blue Jays lured MLB World Series champion and MVP Springer to Toronto on a six-year, $150million contract – the largest deal in franchise history.

Toronto, who returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016 before being swept by eventual World Series participants the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Round, had made Springer their number one target and landed one of the most coveted free agents this offseason.

Springer brings a wealth of postseason experience to an exciting young core of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio in Toronto, where the Blue Jays also boast number one right-handed pitching prospect Nate Pearson.

And Springer is excited, telling reporters on Wednesday: "I think they're right there. When you play against this team like I have, you could see the talent, could see the potential in their line-up, in their staff, in their arms.

"I think this team is built to win, and I think they're going to be built to win for a long time."

Springer leads MLB with 136 home runs from the lead-off spot since 2015. The Blue Jays as a team have 129 homers from the lead-off spot over that time, per Stats Perform.

A two-time Silver Slugger, Springer has 39 lead-off home runs in his career – fourth most all-time behind Rickey Henderson (73), Ian Kinsler (48) and Brady Anderson (44).

Springer has recorded seven career World Series home runs – most from the lead-off spot all-time – and he is 19-for-56 (.339) in the World Series in his career. No other current Blue Jays player has a World Series hit in their career.

The three-time All-Star's 174 home runs since debuting in MLB via Houston are third most by an Astro in a player's first seven career seasons, behind only Jeff Bagwell (187) and Lance Berkman (180).

In Toronto, Bichette is the first shortstop in MLB history to have a .300-plus batting average and a .500-plus slugging percentage in each of his first two seasons (minimum 125 plate appearances in both seasons).

Blue Jays team-mate Biggio became the first player in league history to have at least 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 100 walks through his first 159 career games (that is how many games he has played so far).

As for Guerrero, he is the only MLB player currently 21 or younger who has at least 100 career RBIs.

Based on age at the time of games, the Blue Jays had the most hits (234), runs (148), home runs (38), RBIs (137), XBH (93) and BB (103) in 2020.

"This line-up reminds me a lot of them [the Astros]," 31-year-old outfielder Springer said midweek. 

"It is a young line-up but it's a very talented, advanced younger line-up. From everything I've seen, they're very, very ambitious. They want to win, they work hard. That's awesome to see."

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins, who is eyeing the franchise's first World Series title since 1993, added: "What he's done, his athleticism, his character, his resilience and his perseverance.

"He will overcome challenges and we believe that he's going to be a very, very good player, not just for the beginning of his contract but for the duration."

Related items

  • Rojas goes deep three times as Cubs and Diamondbacks combine for 11 homers Rojas goes deep three times as Cubs and Diamondbacks combine for 11 homers

    The MLB record for most combined home runs in a game was threatened in the Arizona Diamondbacks' 10-6 win against the Chicago Cubs.

    Overall, the teams combined to hit 11 home runs – two short of the record, which was set by the Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies in 2019. 

    After the Diamondbacks drove in the first two runs of the contest with a bases-loaded single in the opening inning, Patrick Wisdom launched the first long-ball of the game in the second frame in response for the Cubs.

    Arizona took over from there, with seven of the next eight runs coming from Diamondbacks home runs.

    Third-baseman Josh Rojas hit his own solo shot in the top of the third inning, and it would be the first of his three home runs in the game, as he hit a two-run bomb in the fifth inning and another solo in the seventh inning, with all three travelling at least 402 feet.

    David Peralta hit two home runs for the Diamondbacks, while Alek Thomas and Christian Walker had one each. For the Cubs, Jonathan Villar was the second from his team to go deep, before Christopher Morel and Ildemaro Vargas went back-to-back in the seventh inning.

    Given the friendly scoring conditions, the best pitching performance of the game came from Diamondbacks bullpen arm Noe Ramirez, who was only asked to retire four batters, but was the only pitcher from either team to allow no hits and no runs.

     

    Story time continues in Boston

    After hitting three home runs on Thursday, Trevor Story stayed hot for the Boston Red Sox on Friday, hitting a bases-loaded grand slam in his side's 7-3 home win against the Seattle Mariners.

    Story, who was the Red Sox's biggest off-season signing, had his big moment with two outs in the third inning after Christian Vazquez's base hit and walks to Enrique Hernandez and Xander Bogaerts, launching a long-ball 378 feet over the 'Green Monster' in left-field.

    A two-run, 429-foot blast from Abraham Toro in the fifth frame kept the Mariners competitive, before Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. put the game to bed with a three-run homer in the eighth inning.

    Nats turn rare triple-play

    The Washington Nationals were on the wrong end of a 7-0 beating from the Milwaukee Brewers, but they produced one of the rarest plays in baseball.

    With no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, and runners on first and second base, Milwaukee's Luis Urias hit a hard ground-ball straight at third base, allowing the field to take it cleanly and step on the base, before throwing to second, who got it to first in time for the triple-play.

    It was the Nationals' first triple-play since 2016, although it was soured by a dominant pitching performance from Brewer Eric Lauer, who went seven full innings, conceding no runs while allowing just five hits and no walks.

  • Abraham caps memorable debut Serie A season with a slice of history Abraham caps memorable debut Serie A season with a slice of history

    Tammy Abraham capped a memorable first season in Serie A with a slice of history as Roma defeated Torino 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday. 

    A first-half double saw Abraham become the highest-scoring English player in a single season in the Italian top flight, surpassing the previous mark of 16 set by Gerald Hitchens at Inter in 1961-62. 

    The only Roma player to score more than the England international's haul of 17 in a debut Serie A season with the club was Rodolfo Volk, who registered 21 in the 1929-30 campaign. 

    Abraham has also found the back of the net nine times in 13 appearances in the Europa Conference League this season and is hopeful of capping a memorable campaign with a victory in the final against Feyenoord on Wednesday. 

    "I would have loved to get three, to score a hat-trick for my team, but the most important thing is we won," he told DAZN. 

    "I fell in love with this club on the first day and I'm always going to help the team as much as possible with my goals and assists. It's been a good year for me. I'd like to build on it and hopefully we can finish with a trophy and this will be the perfect year." 

    Asked if he will stay at Roma, Abraham replied: "I love this club. They've given me the opportunity to show myself and my heart is here. We'll see what the future holds but my heart is here." 

  • Paris Saint-Germain confirm Di Maria departure Paris Saint-Germain confirm Di Maria departure

    Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed Angel Di Maria will leave the club upon the expiration of his contract. 

    Di Maria joined PSG from Manchester United in 2015 and has gone on to enjoy a stellar stint in the French capital. 

    The former Real Madrid winger has won five Ligue 1 titles, enjoyed as many Coupe de France triumphs and collected four Coupe de la Ligue trophies. 

    He has not been able to help PSG win the Champions League, though he did get a runners-up medal in 2019-20. 

    Di Maria, who scored in a 4-0 rout of Montpellier last week, contributed to 40 goals in his first season at PSG, scoring 15 and providing 25 assists. 

    In the 2021 Coupe de France final, his pass for a Kylian Mbappe goal saw Di Maria become the player with the most assists in PSG's history (104). 

    He has assisted 71 goals in Ligue 1 since his debut in 2015, 27 more than any other PSG player in that time frame, and created 482 chances – way clear of second-ranked Neymar's tally of 267. His 55 goals place him fourth, behind Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Mbappe. 

    Lionel Messi's arrival last year limited Di Maria's minutes, with the Argentine featuring 30 times across all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign and starting 21 of those games. 

    On Friday, ahead of PSG's final game of the season against Metz, Di Maria posted a picture of the squad to his official Instagram account with the message: "Gracias. Merci." 

    "Angel Di Maria has definitely marked the history of the club," said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. 

    "He will be remembered by supporters as a player of impeccable spirit, who showed unwavering commitment to defending our colours.  

    "I invite the whole Paris Saint-Germain family to meet [Saturday] at the Parc des Princes to pay him the tribute he deserves." 

    Reports have suggested that Juventus have lined up a move for Di Maria, who turned 34 in February. 

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.