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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Rays Extend Jeffrey Springs

The Rays and left-hander Jeffrey Springs have signed a contract extension, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter links). Springs will get $31MM over four years but there’s a club option for 2027 and incentives that could lead to Springs earning $65.75MM.
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 25, 2023 at 03:15 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jeffrey springs, rays

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: January 25, 2023 at 07:40 PM (#6114501)
Leading to the question "who the heck is Jeffrey Springs?" Or maybe that's just me.

And the answer turns out to be kinda intriguing. A 30th round pick, he made the majors at 25 with Texas. From ages 25-28 he was a highly fungible, beyond anonymous reliever with 129 IP and a 98 ERA+.

Then the ever-clever Tampa said "let's make him a (5 inning) starter." I don't see anything in his performance to suggest that was a remotely good idea -- he K'd a decent number for a reliever but walked plenty, gave up lots of hits and HRs.

So he made 25 starts and 8 relief appearances in 2022, 135 IP, had excellent results with good peripherals. Now he's got at least $31 M coming his way.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: January 25, 2023 at 07:43 PM (#6114505)
I'm pretty sure he was one of the anti-gay Rays.
   3. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 26, 2023 at 07:55 AM (#6114552)
In February of 2021, the Red Sox traded Jeffrey Springs and Chris Mazzo to Tampa for Ronaldo Hernandez and Nick Sogard.

It's funny. Part of Chaim Bloom's problem with Boston fans is that we all assumed he would bring the Tampa Bay magic to Boston - the ability to find talent and value all over the place...but with a big payroll.

Then he makes a trade with Tampa, and appears to get his lunch money taken from him.

To be fair, nobody saw Springs becoming this. In fact, if you asked Springs in 2020, there's no way he thought a few years later he would getting a life-changing amount of money with a four year deal.

   4. SoSH U at work Posted: January 26, 2023 at 08:05 AM (#6114553)
I figured it was a deal with a spring training complex.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 26, 2023 at 09:16 AM (#6114554)
Who?
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 26, 2023 at 09:20 AM (#6114556)
So, the dude is 30 with about 180 good innings in his life. He was already under team control for two more years (4.055 service time), and made $950,000 last year.

What would he have made in arb? Why not just ride out the service time? Why would anyone want to commit to pay $10M for this guys age 32 and 33 seasons?
   7. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: January 26, 2023 at 10:00 AM (#6114561)
What would he have made in arb? Why not just ride out the service time? Why would anyone want to commit to pay $10M for this guys age 32 and 33 seasons?
What's wrong with investing a modest sum in a player who has demonstrated a pretty decent upside? Even the low-budget Rays appear headed toward a payroll north of $71M for the coming season.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 26, 2023 at 10:17 AM (#6114564)
What's wrong with investing a modest sum in a player who has demonstrated a pretty decent upside? Even the low-budget Rays appear headed toward a payroll north of $71M for the coming season.

$31M is not that modest. You could use it to lock up younger players.

In some sense the Rays seem to be penny (extremely) wise but a pound foolish. They've mastered the scrap heap and mix and match lineups to stay competitive every year, but they don't seem to ever develop their prospects into stars any more. They never just give the guy a job and let him develop.
   9. Darren Posted: January 26, 2023 at 11:00 AM (#6114570)

It's funny. Part of Chaim Bloom's problem with Boston fans is that we all assumed he would bring the Tampa Bay magic to Boston - the ability to find talent and value all over the place...but with a big payroll.


Ha ha. It's funny. Ha ha ha. Ha. :(

They got him for Sam Travis, and then turned him and Chris Mazza into Ronaldo Hernandez and Nick Sogard. Hernandez has some value, I guess. As you say, it was probably hard to see what Springs would become. Then again, these are the deals that we were hoping he'd win.

Overall, what do people think of his ability to find inexpensive talent? So far, it seems like a mixed bag to me.

   10. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: January 26, 2023 at 11:12 AM (#6114573)
$31M is not that modest. You could use it to lock up younger players.
$31M over four years seems incredibly modest in today's market.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 26, 2023 at 11:34 AM (#6114581)

What would he have made in arb? Why not just ride out the service time? Why would anyone want to commit to pay $10M for this guys age 32 and 33 seasons?


Yea, this seems very un-Rays. The guy is already in his 30s. Yes, it's a modest deal, but it's not crazy to think he is not a viable pitcher in two years and for a stingy team like the Rays, that could be real dead money to them. Really surprised they didn't sell high on him and flip him for prospects.
   12. Dr. Pooks Posted: January 26, 2023 at 01:37 PM (#6114602)
Then the ever-clever Tampa said "let's make him a (5 inning) starter.


Isn't every non-ace SP a "five inning starter" in 2023?

I assume the old 5-and-out starter is now in fact a twice/three-times-through the order, 4 inning guy.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: January 26, 2023 at 02:13 PM (#6114612)
#12 ... "5-inning" added so folks didn't think he'd been used as an opener.

The money is a good question. As noted, $1 M this year but he would have gotten a "substantial" raise after last year to (WAG) $4-5 M this year and let's further WAG $7 next year. So yeah, they've committed 2/$20. Tyler Anderson, with a better track record, got 3/$39. The incentives that could add $35 M to the deal -- those must be some impressive thresholds. The age really isn't much of a concern -- pitchers just don't age like batters and, in this case, it's probably more attractive that he doesn't have a lot of mileage on his arm.

I think it's just Tampa backing their own evaluation. They don't need the guy to put up a 147 ERA+ every year for this deal to work, if he's durable and league average they'll be fine. They think 2/$20 for this guy in a couple of years plus that option will work out well for them. Mediocre relievers with a big 2022 were getting $8 M this offseason, if Springs flops as a starter, Tampa can stick him back in the pen, let him K 12/9 and hope for the best and still be no worse off than those other teams. Springs' agent obviously understood that Tampa saw real potential and got those massive incentives just in case his client keeps up this performance.

And he's a lefty -- the lefties who have suddenly found the secret around age 30 is pretty long. Jeff Fassero didn't even crack the majors until 28 then put up 7 years, 1000 IP, 129 ERA+, moving from bullpen to starter. Moyer's HOVG career really starts at age 30. Charlie Leibrandt cracked the code at 27, Larry Gura was up and down until stringing 6 good seasons from 29-34. Jim Rooker had a nice run from 30-34.

Granted, none of the nerds in Tampa's basement were alive the last time any of those guys threw a pitch but, whether they know it or not, they think they just found the next Jeff Fassero.

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