- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2021

After a slow start to the MLB free agent market this offseason, a hot stove that remained mostly cold suddenly fired up for a midnight snack Tuesday.

Former Houston Astros star outfielder George Springer reached a tentative six-year, $150 million contract Tuesday night with the Toronto Blue Jays, pending a physical. Springer was one of the biggest free agent names on the market, and Toronto made a serious splash in landing the 31-year-old.

Springer joins an already imposing lineup with the Blue Jays. There’s Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Toronto also has Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grischuk and Lourdes Gurrieul Jr. — a trio that hit 11 or more home runs in the truncated 2020 season.

Springer adds to those power numbers. He clubbed 14 longballs with 32 RBIs last season and hit for a .265 average. He earned all-star selections in 2017, 2018 and 2019, hitting at least .265 in those seasons with a combined 95 homers and 252 RBIs. Springer has hit at least 20 homers in five of his previous six full campaigns.

He also was named World Series MVP in 2017, leading the Astros past the Los Angeles Dodgers. Springer was on the team for Houston’s sign-stealing scandal, but his numbers haven’t been impacted after the fallout from that.

To continue the relative free-agent flurry in an otherwise slow offseason, left-hander Jose Quintana is in agreement over a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, according to The Athletic. The former Chicago Cubs starter missed most of last season.

He started at least 31 games each of the previous seven seasons, beginning with the White Sox before a midseason trade to the cross-city Cubs in 2017. The 31-year-old has seen his ERA inflate to 4.03 in 2018 and 4.68 in 2019, and his strikeouts per nine innings has dropped to nearly two fewer than his 2017 rate of 9.9.

But the Angels needed to add to their starting rotation, which was an Achilles heel in 2020. Los Angeles’ lineup boasts Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout, but the team’s starting ERA last year was 5.52.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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