- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
George Springer probably will file a grievance against the Houston Astros sometime in the weeks ahead, because what the Astros will do in the weeks ahead will make no sense in any world other than Major League Baseball.
On one hand, the Astros think so much of the outfield prospect that they offered him a $23 million contract, to be paid out over a seven-year deal, even though he has never had a major league at-bat. (He turned down the offer.) Springer, 24, had an OPS over 1.000 across Double- and Triple-A last season, and is regarded as one of the top prospects in baseball.
On the other hand, when the Astros' season begins next week, the team will do what has become standard operating procedure for major league clubs: They will hold Springer down in the minors until they can mitigate, as best they can, the financial advantages he might gain from being promoted.
Think about how dumb that really is for the industry of professional baseball.
Did the Indianapolis Colts bury Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck in some developmental league? No, they played them when they thought they were ready to play.
Did the Cleveland Cavaliers concoct false pretenses to prevent LeBron James from playing in the NBA? Of course not.
But every year, Major League Baseball teams will tether their best prospects to the minors because it makes financial sense for them to do so.