MLB

Toronto Blue Jays sign MLB star Springer on six-year contract

By Sports Desk January 23, 2021

The Toronto Blue Jays have confirmed the signing of star free agent and MLB World Series champion George Springer on a six-year deal.

Reports emerged earlier this week that Springer, one of the most coveted free agents this offseason, was set to sign a lucrative, long-term, $150million contract with Toronto.

The emerging Blue Jays, who returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016, have been looking to make a splash in free agency as they seek to add experience to an exciting young core of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.

And in a boost to their hopes of clinching a first World Series success since 1993, Toronto on Saturday confirmed the deal for Springer – a World Series winner and MVP with the Houston Astros in 2017.

Springer tallied a team-high 14 homers, 37 runs, 50 hits and 32 RBIs with a .265 average in 189 at-bats as the Astros reached the AL Championship Series (ALCS) last season.

Having made his Astros debut in 2014, 31-year-old Springer amassed 174 home runs – the third-most by a Houston player in their first seven career seasons – 567 runs, 832 hits and 458 RBIs with a .270 average in 3,087 at-bats.

A three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, Springer has hit 19 postseason home runs from 63 games, tied for fourth on the all-time list, behind Rickey Henderson (73), Ian Kinsler (48) and Brady Anderson (44).

The New York Mets had been Toronto's main competition for Springer's signature, but the Blue Jays were able to offer the best deal.

According to league sources, the Mets' final offer came in at $120m to $125m over six years.

The Blue Jays and Mets had been the two finalists for Springer for much of this offseason, but New York’s additions of star shortstop Francisco Lindor and others put the Blue Jays in the driver's seat, where they could use the payroll flexibility that comes with such a young team.

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  • MLB: Mets get 22 hits, win sixth straight MLB: Mets get 22 hits, win sixth straight

    Brandon Nimmo drove in four runs and had three of the New York Mets' season-high 22 hits as Major League Baseball's hottest team rolled to a 14-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday.

    Francisco Lindor went 4 for 4 and knocked in two runs as the Mets won their sixth consecutive contest while collecting their most hits in a game since recording 23 against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 15, 2019.

    Nimmo had a two-run homer among his three hits and DJ Stewart added a three-run blast as New York battered Texas starter Jon Gray for nine runs and 11 hits in just three-plus innings.

    Pete Alonso, Mark Vientos and Francisco Alvarez also had three hits each to support a solid start from David Peterson, who allowed two runs and struck out six over six innings to move to 3-0.

    After Lindor singled to open the game and later scored on Alonso's base hit to put the Mets up early, New York broke open the game with six runs in the second.

    Lindor's single brought in Vientos for a 2-0 lead and Nimmo followed with a run-scoring hit of his own to extend the margin. Alonso made it 4-0 with his second RBI single of the night before Stewart launched Gray's pitch into the right field seats to cap the big inning.

    Peterson served up Robbie Grossman's two-run homer in the third inning that got the Rangers on the board, but Nimmo followed Lindor's single in the fourth with his eighth home run of the season to give New York a 9-2 advantage.

    The Mets struck two more times in the fifth as Lindor doubled in a run and Nimmo added another RBI single. Stewart singled in the sixth and later crossed the plate on Alvarez's hit to increase the lead to 12-2.

    Alvarez had another run-scoring hit in the eighth as the Mets scored twice more during the inning.

    The defending World Series champion Rangers lost their fourth in a row and dropped six games below .500 at 33-39.

    Pirates' rookie Skenes bests Reds to stay unbeaten

    Paul Skenes continued an outstanding start to his MLB career by throwing six sharp innings and leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds to open a three-game series.

    Skenes improved to 4-0 by yielding just one run on six hits and striking out seven. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft now sports a 2.29 ERA through his first seven major league starts.

    The heralded rookie's lone run allowed came in the top of the first inning, when Jeimer Candelario singled and scored on a double by Spencer Steer.

    Pittsburgh countered with three runs off Carson Spiers in their half of the first, which began with a walk to Andrew McCutchen and Bryan Reynolds' ground-rule double.

    Oneil Cruz then drove both runners home with a single and later moved to third on Rowdy Tellez's double before crossing the plate on Ke'Bryan Hayes' groundout.

    The Pirates extended their advantage to 4-1 in the second inning on consecutive doubles by McCutchen and Reynolds, who finished with two hits along with Tellez.

    Spiers (0-1) made his first start of the season for Cincinnati, which has now lost three straight. The right-hander worked six innings while permitting all four Pittsburgh runs.

    Schwarber's two homers help Phillies extend Padres' road woes

    Kyle Schwarber belted a pair of two-run homers to lead the way as the Philadelphia Phillies extended the San Diego Padres' road losing streak to eight games with Monday's 9-2 rout.

    Alec Bohm added a three-run homer and went 3 for 5 to help the National League leaders bounce back after losing two of three games to the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend. Rafael Marchan finished 4 for 4 with two RBIs, while Trea Turner had a pair of hits in the Philadelphia shortstop's return from a hamstring injury that had sidelined him since early May.

    The Phillies also received a strong start from Cristopher Sanchez (4-3), who held struggling San Diego to two runs - one earned - in seven innings.

    San Diego entered Citizens Bank Park off three straight road losses to the New York Mets over the weekend, and fell behind 2-0 when Schwarber followed Marchan's third-inning single with a blast into the seats off Randy Vasquez.

    Vasquez (1-4) walked Brandon Marsh to lead off the bottom of the fourth, which led to another run when the outfielder took second on a wild pitch and scored on Marchan's single.

    An error by Marsh led to a run in the top of the fifth that got the Padres on the board, though the Phillies answered in their half when Bohm took Vasquez deep with Turner and Bryce Harper aboard.

    Schwarber struck again in the sixth with a homer off Adrian Morejon that extended the lead to 8-2 and once again scored Marchan, who had reached on a single.

    Both teams scratched home a run in the seventh inning, as San Diego's Donovan Solano brought in Jurickson Profar with a double and Marsh doubled and later scored on Marchan's fourth hit of the game.

    Vasquez lasted just 4 1/3 innings and was lit up for six runs on 12 hits. 

     

  • Inter Miami v Columbus Crew: Black & Gold aim for further road joy against gutsy Herons Inter Miami v Columbus Crew: Black & Gold aim for further road joy against gutsy Herons

    Inter Miami are sitting comfortably at the top of the Eastern Conference table but face a challenge on Thursday when Columbus Crew visit for an MLS clash at Chase Stadium.

    The Herons are two points clear at the summit of the East standings after snatching a 2-1 triumph over Philadelphia Union last time out.

    Yet Wilfried Nancy's Crew have triumphed in their last four road games in the league, battling to a 3-2 victory over New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Friday.

    "It's a massive run and just shows how good we are mentally" Mohamed Farsi said of the streak.

    "I think we have more away wins right now than last year all season. I think so or the same, so I'm happy for that."

    Farsi has become a central figure for Columbus and scored the go-ahead goal in the 53rd minute against the Pigeons, much to the delight of head coach Nancy.

    "The idea for Mo is to be more consistent because he brings a lot of energy to the team," Nancy said.

    "He wants also to show himself that he's a better player than last year when we had the same deal here. Good for him.

    "Now, he knows that he has to work on certain things, but I'm happy for him. He's doing a good job."

    Despite missing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Matis Rojas – all of whom are on Copa America duty – the nine-man Herons overcame the Union thanks to Leo Afonso's last-gasp strike.

    "It is clear that in 10 times, nine of these games we would end up losing," Miami head coach Gerardo Martino said.

    "Absolutely all the credit belongs to them. That has to do with the effort, with the character, with the guts that the boys had."

    Afonso echoed his coach's sentiment ahead of another crunch match-up.

    "It's difficult when you're missing the best players in history in their positions," he said. "But we got to keep working, and we got to try our best."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Inter Miami – Jordi Alba

    With stars Messi and Suarez on international duty, Jordi Alba will be expected to step up once more for the Herons.

    The former Barcelona full-back has two goals this year in MLS, as well as five assists – that creative tally is only bettered by Messi (13) and Julian Gressel (six) among Miami team-mates.

    Columbus Crew – Diego Rossi

    Diego Rossi remains an integral figure in attack for the Crew, whose Javier Hernandez (five goals) has only scored more than the forward's four in 10 MLS games this year.

    With other Uruguayan colleagues at the Copa, Rossi will hope to extend his fine scoring form here.

    MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

    Miami may be leading the way in the East but a draw appears the most likely outcome at Chase Stadium.

    The Herons have never lost a home match against the Crew (W2 D1), though Columbus did earn their first away point against David Beckham's Miami-based side on the last visit to Fort Lauderdale, a 2-2 draw in July 2023.

    Martino will hope to continue a strong run of form with another victory, however.

    Miami have won eight of their last 11 regular-season matches (D2 L1) following a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia on Saturday. Since that run began in mid-April, Martino's side have managed 26 points and scored 28 goals – both league-leading figures.

    Yet Columbus should not be ruled out for a win either.

    The Crew have won four straight regular-season away matches for the second time in club history after a four-match run in August-September 2015.

    Columbus have lost only one of their last 11 regular-season road matches, dating back to last September (W5 D5), and that streak could continue here.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Inter Miami win – 37.4%

    Columbus Crew win – 36.3%

    Draw – 26.4%

  • Mbappe injury leaves Deschamps concerned after France's Euro 2024 triumph Mbappe injury leaves Deschamps concerned after France's Euro 2024 triumph

    Kylian Mbappe suffering a late head injury marred France's Euro 2024 victory over Austria as Didier Deschamps was left concerned about the Les Bleus star.

    The Real Madrid-bound attacker sustained a blow to his nose after an aerial challenge with Austria's Kevin Danso before Mbappe was withdrawn on Monday.

    France held on for a 1-0 victory in Dusseldorf to move level with fellow Group D leaders Netherlands, but Deschamps will have to sweat over Mbappe's fitness before facing Ronald Koeman's men on Friday.

    "[His] nose is not good at all," the France head coach, who hit 100 wins in charge of his country with the victory over Ralf Rangnick's side, told reporters.

    "Even if it's just the nose, it's the big negative point for us tonight."

    Mbappe missed a gilt-edged opportunity in the second half as his wait for a European Championship goal continued.

    The former Paris Saint-Germain man remains without a goal from a total of 18 shots in the tournament, while he has registered 12 strikes from 39 attempts at the World Cup.

    Mbappe played the cross in for Max Wober's decisive first-half own-goal, however, as the centre-back's inadvertent error proved the difference in the pair's tournament opener.

    France are the first European side at major tournaments (World Cup/Euros) to benefit from 10 own-goals, four more than any other side – Germany are the next best on six.

    Deschamps was still satisfied with Les Bleus' work, though acknowledged their failure in front of goal.

    "Happy with what the players did even if we missed opportunities to double the tally," he added. "It was not perfect but we were solid.

    "We could have been more efficient offensively but it's good to start with a win.

    "There's quality and talent but being solid and working together is also important. We're not going to be over-confident, but it's a good start."

    N'Golo Kante was named as the Player of the Match after his efficient display in midfield, having only returned to the international setup for this tournament after a two-year absence.

    No France player made more successful tackles than Kante's two (level with Jules Kounde), while the midfielder's pair of interceptions marked the most for Les Bleus.

    "Everything was not perfect but we have the result we wanted, this is a good start," Kante said. "There are solid foundations, we have to be more efficient.

    "It makes me happy to be back. Things have changed, makes it feels good to get back into this jersey."

    The defeat ended a run of seven games without a loss for Austria in all competitions (W6 D1), while it was only their second reverse in their last 17 matches (W12 D3).

    Yet former Manchester United boss Rangnick refused to point the blame at any of Austria's players.

    "We are all very disappointed... we allowed France to go ahead, they didn't shoot their goal, it was an unlucky own goal by us," Rangnick said.

    "I think no one can accuse the team of not being engaged enough, not running enough. They gave their everything.

    "They didn't always make the right decisions with the ball. But it isn't easy, the French were aggressive, and played compactly and that wasn't a surprise."

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