The Rays announced that they had signed a left hander Jeffrey Springs To extend the contract for a period of four years. Southpaw will be guaranteed $31 million over the course of the deal, but there are also incentives and a $15 million club option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout. If Springs hits all the incentives and Cy Young award ladders and the club picks the option, they will earn $65.75 million over five years. The exact details of these urges and escalators are unknown. He will earn a salary of $4 million this year, $5.25 million next year, followed by $10.5 million in each of the next two seasons. Springs is set to reach free agency after 2024, so this could allow the Rays to secure him for three additional seasons, should they end up running that option.
Springs, 30, has had a unique baseball journey. A Rangers 30th round draft pick, he generated little fanfare from prospective evaluators in his first few professional seasons. Although he did get some rotation work for a few years, the Rangers used him exclusively for rest in 2018 to good results. He threw 56 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A that year. An ERA of 4.13 may not sound very impressive, but it sure is amplified by a batting average of 0.438 on balls during the game. He kept his walks to a reasonable 8.1% while striking out 41.7% of hitters faced. He earned his MLB debut that year, throwing 32 innings over 18 games with a 3.38 ERA.
He took a step back in 2019, missing a few months due to left bicep tendinitis and posting a 6.40 ERA. Texas designated him for assignment in 2020 and then traded him to the Red Sox for a Sam Travis. A change of scenery didn’t help help Springs get back on track, posting a 7.08 ERA in the shortened 2020 campaign. He was designated for assignment again and then flipped to a Rays side Chris Mazza for prospects Ronaldo Hernandez And Nick Sugard.
It seemed like a move to Tampa was just the thing Springs needed, as its results have completely transformed since then. He posted a 3.43 ERA in 43 appearances in 2021, striking out 35.2% of batters faced while walking only 7.8% of them. In 2022, he started in the bullpen but the club began stretching him to a starter as the season wore on. He responded well to the changeup, ultimately throwing 135 1/3 innings with a 2.46 ERA, a 26.2% strikeout rate, a 5.6% walk rate, and a 40.9% ground ball average.
After a few years of floundering and struggling, it’s no surprise Springs jumped at the chance to secure some life-changing cash here. He reached arbitration for the first time in 2022, but only made $947.5K, up slightly from the league minimum of $700K. It was predicted before MLBTR contributor Matt Schwartz to jump to $3 million this year, though he and the club did not reach an agreement before the filing deadline earlier this month. he Presenter $3.55 million, while Rice scored $2.7 million. Instead, he’ll make $4 million and lock in some eight-figure salaries in the future.
As for the Rays, they clearly think Springs can continue to be an effective starter, although there are some risks here. Springs had excellent results in 2022 but it’s still only one season, and it hasn’t even been a full season. As mentioned, Springs started the year on the bullpen and wasn’t extended until the end of May. He also went on the injured list for two weeks in July due to right lower leg tightness. Fears aside, the Rays are confident enough in the left that they’re willing to bet on him.
For a low-spending team like the Rays, extras are an important part of having talent on the roster. Since they don’t usually shop at the top of the free agent market, they need to keep guys around them by locking them in before getting close to the open market and maximizing their earning power. In recent years, they have introduced extensions for players such as Kevin KiermayerAnd Blake SnellAnd Brandon LoweAnd Franco wanderedAnd Manuel Margot And Tyler Glasnowwith Springs now joining them on that list.
This won’t have much impact on the club’s 2023 payroll but will add some decent commitments for 2025 and 2026. The club now have three players locked up the previous season with Franco and Zack Evelyn On the books there, along with a club option for Lowe’s. In exchange for putting that money on the table, the Rays now have the most stability in the rotation in years. Recent seasons have seen them rely on bullpen games and openers to get through the season but they now have Springs, Glasnow, Eflin, and Drew Rasmussen And Shane McClanahanwith depth options such as Uni CherinosAnd Louis Patino And Josh Fleming. Most of this group is still in the pre-arbitration years, giving the club years of affordable control. None of them are slated for free agency after this year and Glasnow is now the only one slated on the open market after 2024. The club also has one of the best pitching opportunities in the sport at Bradley crownwho finished last year at Triple-A and could make his debut this year.
Mark Tobkin of the Tampa Bay Times first reported on the first four years of reporting Deal And many more the details. Joel Sherman from the New York Post The first was with the distribution of salaries from year to year.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
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