The Mercury News
George Springer gets $150 million from Toronto
All-Star outfielder George Springer became the most prominent among baseball’s free agents to reach an agreement this offseason, a $150 million, six-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
It would be the largest contract in team history.
Springer, who turned 31 in September, is a three-time All-Star who has spent his entire seven-season career with Houston and was the World Series MVP when the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games for their first title in 2017. The championship was later tainted when it was discovered Houston illicitly stole signs that season.
Springer hit .265 with 14 homers and 32 RBIs during the shortened 2020 season.
He has a .270 career average with 174 home runs and 458 RBIs, including career bests of .292 with 39 homers and 96 RBIs in 2019.
• The Toronto Blue Jays also have agreed to contracts with free agent pitchers Kirby Yates and Tyler Chatwood. Yates, a right-hander who turns 34 on March 25, is coming off surgery in August to remove bone chips from his right elbow. He led the major leagues in saves in 2019 with 41 for San Diego and earned a place on the National League All-Star team.
Chatwood, a 31-year-old righthander, went 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA in five starts with the Chicago Cubs last year.
BRANTLEY RETURNS TO ASTROS >> Outfielder Michael Brantley has agreed to a $32 million, two-year contract with the Houston Astros, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The deal is pending a physical.
Brantley spent the last two seasons in Houston after playing for Cleveland for his first 10 MLB seasons. Brantley hit .300 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 46 games in last year’s pandemic-shortened season. Brantley is a four-time All-Star and a 2014 Silver Slugger award winner. He has a .297 average with 114 homers and 640 RBIs in his career. TWINS, HAPP AGREE TO 1-YEAR DEAL >> The Minnesota Twins agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with free agent left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.
Happ spent the past 2 1/2 seasons with the New York Yankees and had an up-and-down stint in pinstripes. He began his Yankees tenure in 2018 by going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts after being acquired in the middle of the season.
He then struggled in 2019. The lefty made 31 appearances (30 starts) and finished with a 12-8 record despite
an inflated 4.91 ERA.
Happ started nine games for the Yanks in 2020, going 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA in the abbreviated season.
Happ is 123-92 in his career with a 3.98 ERA pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies (2007-10), Houston Astros (2010-12), Toronto (2012-14, 201618), Seattle Mariners (2015), Pittsburgh Pirates (2015) and the Yankees (2018-20).
EARTHQUAKES SIGN MEXICAN MIDFIELDER >> In the first major outside move of the offseason, the San Jose Earthquakes announced they have acquired Mexican midfielder Javier Eduardo Lopez on loan from famed Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara.
Lopez, 26, is expected to fill the attacking midfielder role held by Magnus Eriksson before he returned to Sweden in the middle of last season.
Lopez has been signed to a oneyear loan deal, pending receipt of a work visa and international transfer documents, the Quakes announced. In a news release, the Major League Soccer team said it will have an option to extend the loan for a half year or buy the player outright.
3RD-DIVISION CLUB ALCOYANO
KNCOCKS OUT MADRID IN COPA DEL REY>> Third-division club Alcoyano came from behind to eliminate Real Madrid 2-1 in the round of 32 of the Copa de Rey.
The small club from eastern Spain scored in the 80th minute to force extra time and again in the 115th to make it to the last 16.
Crosstown rival Atlético Madrid had already been eliminated by a third-division club in the second round, losing to Cornellà.
WOOD TO JOIN REAL SALT LAKE >> Former U.S. men’s national team striker Bobby Wood has agreed to join Real Salt Lake this summer, The Athletic reported. Wood, 28, signed a pre-contract
to join the MLS club when his contract with Hamburg expires at the end of June, per the report.
Wood is looking for more playing time, which has dwindled since Hamburg was relegated to the Bundesliga’s second division after the 201718 season.
HOUSTON TOURNAMENT CANCELED AGAIN >> The U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston was canceled for the second year in a row because of the coronavirus pandemic, part of a series of changes to the men’s tennis calendar announced Wednesday.
The Houston tournament was supposed to be played April 3-11. It was among the dozens of professional tennis events scrapped in 2020. Until then, the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship had been held every year since 1929.
DREAM CLOSE TO BEING SOLD, TAKING LOEFFLER OUT OF LEAGUE >> The Atlanta Dream are close to being sold, ending defeated U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s contentious stint as a WNBA owner.
“As it relates to the Atlanta Dream, we understand a sale of the franchise is close to being finalized,” the league said in a statement. “Once the sale negotiation is concluded, additional information will be provided.”
Players around the league have called for Loeffler to sell her 49% stake in the Dream after she wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert last summer objecting to the league’s initiatives to advocate for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Dream would be the second WNBA franchise sold this month. The Las Vegas Aces were bought by Raiders owner Mark Davis.