Remember when the New York Yankees could’ve changed the course of history and signed their No. 1 villain George Springer using Just Money, but instead didn’t do that and watched him join an up-and-coming division rival? What was the goal of that process?
Probably, the Bombers thought they could “just get away with” the Jays getting better at their expense, forgetting that showdowns between the two camps for the next four years would always feature Springer torturing the Yanks, and also always feature Someone Worse Than Springer on the other side.
Sometimes, these things are really quite simple.
Springer’s numbers against the Yankees career are more pedestrian than you’d think (.236 average, .720 OPS in 44 games), but at this point in his career, he’s settled into a niche. He’s a .265 hitter who brings elite defense when healthy, and he’s going to wrap a full season with nearly 40 homers. If he’s been silent for two consecutive games, he’s probably going to find the seats or find the gap in the third. He’s always looming.
And he might just finish a tone-setting game with absolute perfection, making the Yankees once again question themselves in Thursday’s series opener.
George Springer will give Blue Jays advantage over Yankees
On the docket next week? Max Scherzer of the Mets, another rival the Yankees could’ve wooed using money, which is legal to do. Sadly, the Yanks have chosen the alternate strategy of collecting worse players and hoping they can overcome the hurdle of being less talented than the people they’re facing.
So far, so bad! Springer almost single-handedly plowed over the Yanks with a collection of bloops and blasts Thursday, which should come as no surprise. Regardless of his total output (he hit just .160 in the six-game 2019 ALCS), he still finds a way to stick the needle in (two crucial homers, including the series-changer off Adam Ottavino in Game 2).
He’s not always going to go 5-for-5, but he’s always going to change the tone of a series by reminding you of the failures of the past. Without Springer these past two years, the Jays are a slightly above-.500 team. With Springer? They’re 97-70. They’re elite.
So whether his hits are “lucky” (which Frankie Montas really had no right to scoff at on Thursday) or well-struck, they just keep falling. If he’s not in the middle of a perfect day, he’s likely elevating the roster in some other fashion.
He’s the kind of guy you pay.
The part that stings the most is that the Yankees didn’t “miss out” on Springer. They simply weren’t involved, already tethered to the Aaron Hicks deal. Hicks, ironically, gave way to Estevan Florial semi-officially just before Springer came to town.
Springer was a “cheater” in Houston; now he’s a winner in your division. Scherzer “wouldn’t come to New York,” until he did. Money changes everything, unless you’re not interested in changing anything at all.
Imagine the Yankees going 5-for-5 in any capacity? At the plate? In postseason series? While making a sequence of decisions? Toronto might still be lagging behind in the East, but their most trustworthy weapon has returned for the stretch run, and he appears ready for torment.