The Toronto Blue Jays signed center fielder George Springer to a six-year, $150 million contract in the offseason with the objective of bringing a reliable offensive producer at a position of need, with plenty of playoff experience.
For the most part, they have gotten just that (well, it’s still premature for any playoff talk).
As of Thursday afternoon, Springer is hitting an awesome .269/.362/.610 with an impressive .972 OPS.
Springer Has Been Limited To 49 Games In 2021
The former star of the Houston Astros has 16 home runs in just 49 games in the 2021 season.
While the first number is certainly encouraging, the latter is the one that concerns the Blue Jays front office and fans alike.
Springer has only played 49 of Toronto’s 119 games in the 2021 campaign.
Injuries have gotten in the way of what could have been a historic season for the talented outfielder.
He was diagnosed with a left knee sprain this week, sending him to the injured list immediately and for the third time this season.
Doctors identified that the sprain is of the Grade 1 variety, which means that he shouldn’t miss the rest of the regular season with it and should return at some point.
However, it also means that he could miss at least a few weeks, putting him on target for a September return.
The fourth-place Blue Jays need all the help they can get, as they are currently fighting for a postseason spot via the Wild Card.
Losing Springer for a significant amount of time again would be a tough blow for an up-and-coming franchise that invested lots of resources in the 2021 season.
Other Injuries Have Hindered His 2021 Output
Springer, if you don’t recall, had to start the season on the injured list because of an oblique strain that took weeks to fully heal.
On top of that, and when he was close to returning from his oblique strain, he injured his quad.
#Bluejays manager Charlie Montoyo says George Springer's oblique injury has healed but he's still day to day on his quad strain.
— Rob Longley (@longleysunsport) April 11, 2021
On May 5, he was placed on the injured list with a right quad strain.
That injury took more than a month-and-a-half to heal, as he returned to the Blue Jays’ active team on June 22 to make his season debut.
He played the whole 162 games in 2016 and 140 in both 2017 and 2018.
He missed a few more games in 2019, taking part in 122 contests, but played most of the 2020 campaign (51 games out of 60.)
That’s why it’s both surprising and frustrating that his time with the Blue Jays has been marred by physical issues.
Of course, it’s not the player’s fault, but he has been somewhat injury-prone for Toronto so far.
Getting him healthy and in shape for the stretch run in September is a must for the Jays’ training staff, but knee injuries should be treated with care.
In any case, it’s clear that Springer has mostly struggled to stay healthy with the Blue Jays in 2021.
In 49 games this year, George Springer's batting .269/.362/.610 for a .972 OPS with 16 home runs and 1.8 WAR. #BlueJays very clearly a worse team without their leadoff hitter & CF.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) August 17, 2021
Toronto certainly needs him if they are going to make a serious push for the playoffs.