Marcus Semien & George Springer: Toronto Blue Jays Invested In Soul To Fill The Holes

Marcus Semien & George Springer: Toronto Blue Jays Invested In Soul To Fill The Holes

The Toronto Blue Jays’ 32-28 record last season earned the franchise its first postseason appearance in four years, and some lofty expectations for 2021. 

Adding 3x All-Star outfielder George Springer along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien has only bolstered them. 

Semien didn’t waste any time making his impact felt, by homering on Opening Day, and then again on Monday. 


After seven years with the Houston Astros, a six-year, $150M contract lured Springer (2017 World Series MVP) to the AL East. Springer’s debut was delayed due to a Grade 2 oblique strain that put him on the IL to start the season, though the Jays expect him to join the lineup any day now. 


So the multi-tooled Soul Patroller can do more of this…


There aren’t too many questions about Springer’s durability. From 2016-20 he played in almost 90 percent of the Astros’ games. He’s known for being one the toughest players in the sport. 


He remains one of the most productive hitters in the game too. During last season’s shortened schedule, Springer finished in the American League’s top ten in home runs, runs batted in, and runs scored. 

READ MORE: Black Knights: Astros’ George Springer And The Evolution Of The Leadoff Hitter

We mentioned Toronto’s baby-booming infield, but Springer also has some outfield mates who can cause damage. He’s a seamless fit in an outfield that returns Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk. The trio combined to bat .289 with 39 homers, 102 RBI, and scored 99 times. 

Springer is excited to be joining the Blue Jays young core, he and Semien will be the only players over 30 years old in the regular rotation. 

The Astros lost 92 games in Springer’s first year in the majors. Surrounded by another collection of rising stars, he was holding a World Series trophy three seasons later. 

He sees something familiar with Toronto. 


Brought to the Great White North on a one-year, $18 million deal, Marcus Semien has both a new team and a new position in Toronto. 

With Bo Bichette holding it down at short, Semien slides over to second base. The Jays instantly get better defensively, good news for a team that finished in the bottom third of the AL in fielding.

Semien led all American League shortstops in fielding % in 2019 (.981). Last season, his numbers took a slight dip, but the move to second provides a great opportunity for a bounce back campaign. 

The addition of Semien deepens the roster. As much as the Blue Jays may value Semien’s defensive acumen, what Toronto and its fans are really hoping that they get the 2019 Marcus Semien at the plate. 

After his best season in the bigs, Semien finished third in the voting for AL Most Valuable Player, and second in Wins Above Replacement (8.6). 

He led the Jays with three homers during Spring Training, though those accounted for one-third of his hit total. 


If Toronto is getting the Semien that played all 162 games for the Oakland A’s while batting .285 with 33 home runs, 92 RBI, 123 runs scored, and an .892 OPS, the Blue Jays could have one of the elite offensive middle infields in all of baseball. 

Last season was more of a struggle for the 30-year-old, some of which has to be attributed to the disjointed nature of the COVID-inflicted season. He did get better as the season went along, raising his OBP by 28 percent and his OPS by 23 percent from July to September and still finishing with a positive WAR figure. 

If Toronto is to reach its potential, Marcus Semien and George Springer should be major catalysts. 

For a Blue Jays franchise that hasn’t been to the World Series in almost 30 years, and that spent nearly $200 million in free agency, they have to be.

Pressure Is On George Springer To Bring That Big Stick Energy & Lift Toronto Blue Jays Into Playoffs

Pressure Is On George Springer To Bring That Big Stick Energy & Lift Toronto Blue Jays Into Playoffs

For some players, the burden of being awarded the largest contract in a franchise’s history can feel like too much to bear. MLBbro George Springer is not one of those players. 

“Choosing Toronto was one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make in my career, “Springer wrote in his post for The Players Tribune. “My family and I felt good about it from the start – so after I got off the phone with Mark and Ross during my free agency, I didn’t need more convincing. I called my agent and told him, “This is the place.

While we all acknowledge family plays a major role in free agent decisions, a quick look at this roster would make any ballplayer comfortable. Toronto’s features players like budding superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., just to name a few. And despite already possessing a roster packed with homegrown talent, Toronto has shown that they don’t mind spending to compete in AL East — arguably the best division in baseball.

Springer was the first domino to fall, signing his six-year, $151 million deal in the summer of 2021. Unfortunately, last season injuries limited Springer to just 78 games and under 300 plate appearances in a full season for the first time since his rookie year. 



Although he was still effective when he did play, smashing 22 homers and posting an OPS of .907, the Blue Jays would eventually miss the playoffs by one game. 

This offseason, after losing Marcus Semien, who set the single-season home run record for second baseman, Toronto decided to acquire more reinforcements, spending $240 million dollars on starting pitchers Jose Berrios and Kevin Gausman, while also adding platinum glove winner Matt Chapman in a trade with the forever rebuilding Oakland Athletics. 

Adding players of this caliber means more pressure on the 2017 World Series MVP to lead this team all the way. 

Fortunately for Blue Jays fans, he has already embraced the role. “It’s been so cool watching these guys and knowing what they have in front of them – because I’ve been in their shoes before. And as the “old guy” (ha) I just get to sit back now and help them whenever I can.”

Springer’s task this season isn’t the first time we’ve seen an MLBbro in this scenario.

MLBBro Rewind

Let’s take a quick trip back to 2003, when Black Ace Dontrelle “D-Train” Willis exploded onto the scene with the young Florida Marlins. Willis, Josh Beckett and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera may receive the most recognition, but there was a veteran MLBbro who was also critical to the Marlins eventual World Series victory. 

Derek Lee smacked 31 home runs that season while driving in 92 runs and winning a Golden Glove at first base. Lee’s numbers may have dipped in the postseason, but the heavy lifting he did during the regular season was crucial to the Marlins postseason berth. If Toronto is to reach the lofty expectations placed upon them, Springer will need to take a similar role with the Blue Jays in order to guide these young guys to glory.

What If Toronto Blue Jays Kept MLBbros Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker?

What If Toronto Blue Jays Kept MLBbros Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker?

Heading into Thursday night, the Toronto Blue Jays had won seven games in a row and 10 of their last 11, pulling within a game and a half of the New York Yankees for the second Wild Card berth in the American League.

The Jays have overcome injuries, playing home games in two different countries, and the toughest division in baseball to put themselves in the mix for the playoffs.

Offensively, the Jays have everything.

Vlad Guerrero Jr. is one of the frontrunners in the AL MVP race, Marcus Semien is chasing the single-season record for home runs by a second baseman, and when George Springer has been healthy, he’s been incredibly impactful.

Toronto leads the AL in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS, while ranking in the top five in batting average, on-base percentage, and RBI.

But, they should be seven games better based on their Pythagorean W-L record, which factors in runs scored and runs allowed.

While the Jays have very solid pitching numbers overall, they haven’t gotten great starting pitching. Robbie Ray has been their best, going 11-5 with a 2.60 ERA.

Just imagine where Toronto might be, had they held on to a pair of MLBbros who were just starting to come into their own.

Marcus Stroman and Tai Walker have been holding it down all season in Queens; keeping the New York Mets in contention for the National League East while staff ace Jacob deGrom has battled injuries all season long.

But from 2014-19, Marcus Stroman was a member of the Blue Jays, finishing in the top 10 in AL Cy Young voting in 2017 and making the All-Star team in 2019.

Walker joined Toronto’s staff during 2020’s shortened-season, going 2-1, with a 1.37 ERA in six starts.

Stroman was traded during his All-Star campaign and Walker wasn’t offered a contract last offseason.

The Stro Show could still be headlining in Toronto. Stroman’s 9-12 record hasn’t reflected just how good he’s been for the Mets.

New York has only provided him with an average of 3.78 runs when he takes the hill.

It’s lucky to be that high, considering the Mets have scored two runs or less in 15 of his 29 starts, including one or less 10 times.

Stroman has gotten a total of 14 runs from his offense in his 12 losses.

In contrast, the Blue Jays have scored two runs or less as a team only 20 times all season.

Stroman also still ranks in the top ten in ERA in the National League (2.93) and gives the Mets Gold Glove-caliber defense.

No doubt that he could have picked up a few more wins wearing his old powder blues.

Tai Walker made his first All-Star team this season, as he got off to a 7-3 start, but has struggled during the second half of the season. Walker hasn’t won a game since he beat the Yankees on July 3.

But run support has been an issue for him as well. In 13 of his 25 starts, the Mets have put of three or fewer runs. Just like with Stroman, more often than not, his teammates have given him below average support.

Both Stroman and Walker would likely have better numbers had Toronto held on to them. But they didn’t.

Maybe the Blue Jays have enough to keep pushing and make it back to the playoffs.

However, if they don’t, they can look about 500 miles to the southeast and find what they were missing.

Mookie Betts & George Springer Are Back To MVP Form | Pitchers Need To Pray

Mookie Betts & George Springer Are Back To MVP Form | Pitchers Need To Pray

Let me find out all it took was another injury and a move to second base to get Mookie Betts rolling again.

The multi-faceted machine has had a few physical malfunctions this year, but that slow start that everyone seemed so concerned about — yeah, the one that had some fools questioning whether or not the former MVP and two-time World Series champion should be on the All-star team — has evaporated 

All of that crazy talk is dead now. Betts is back in the groove at the right time for the Dodgers who have more talent than the Lakers and can’t get much closer to the pesky San Francisco Giants than the four games that seperate them now.  

Mookie not only further seperated himself from the pack  this week, by showing that he could easily add a Gold Glove at second base to his resume if given the chances, but his bat was scolding like old school hot irons on an unsuspecting forehead. 

Entering Friday, Betts was on a roll, going 15-for-28 (.536 BA), a 1.214 slugging percentage, seven extra base hits and five home runs including a two-homer game in Wednesday’s victory over the Astros.



He’s rounding into HOF shape at the right time and not a moment too soon.

George Springer is in a similar zone. 

After signing a mega contract with Toronto in the offseason, the former World Series MVP was hobbled by injuries throughout the first half of this season and wasn’t able to round out an already-potent Blue Jays lineup. 

With the injury bug behind him, the five-tool funkster is batting .517 with a 1.103 slugging percentage, four home runs, 11 RBI, 10 runs scored and four walks over his last seven games. 



Betts’ Dodgers will make the playoffs via Wild Card or division win, but it will be a dogfight getting past the young San Diego Padres and the stubborn Giants, who refuse to just do what the roster says and roll over for a Dodgers team that should be steam-rolling the league — especially with the recent addition of Hall of Fame talent Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner. 

If they repeat, you can almost be certain that Betts will be one of the main catalysts for Dave Roberts’ squad. 

The Blue Jays are also in a treacherous division — the AL East. In order to win the division they would have to leapfrog the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox, which is highly unlikely. But with Springer finally in tow, they can make a late run at a wild card or at least set the foundation for a serious run at the division next season. 



The Blue Jays are one of the more dynamic  teams in the league boasting a plethora of young talent such as Bo Bichette and Vlad Guerrero Jr (both All-Stars with unlimited potential). They also have two uber talented free agent additions in MLBbros Springer and All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien.

Once the franchise organizes a formidable rotation, they will be a problem. 

For now, however, we get to see the incredible influence and energy that these well-accomplished MLBbros bring to the game. Betts is the heartbeat of the defending World Champions and Springer is a key veteran leader within the Blue Jays youth movement. 

What a time for these Black Knights. What a time for baseball. And its still only early August. 

George Springer | American League Player Of The Week

George Springer | American League Player Of The Week

George Springer reintroduced himself to the fans in the nation of Canada by taking home last week’s American League Player of the Week award.



It had been 670 days between this past Friday and September 29 of 2019 that the Blue Jays were able to play in front of their home fans at the Rogers Centre in Toronto and George Springer treated them to a show.  

The Jays spent time this season in Florida and most recently Buffalo, New York before Canada recently lifted travel restrictions allowing them to have home games.  For Springer, who signed a six-year $150 million deal this past offseason, it was the first time to show fans the investment in him was well worth every penny.


Springer was awarded his third career player of the week award after posting a .400 batting average, a .960 slugging percentage, seven RBI, five doubles and three home runs including a multi home run game in Saturday’s contest against Kansas City.  That includes Springer’s 40th career leadoff home run which places him at eighth on the all-time list. 



He stayed locked in early, as in his next at-bat in the third inning he followed with a two-run homer, giving him another opportunity to rock the Blue Jays home run jacket. 

On Tuesday night he hit his 41st career bomb.



Springer now has hits in 14 of his last 15 games entering Tuesday and has been one of the hottest players at the plate through his last 15 games.  He has six home runs, scored 17 times, has 11 RBI and an .825 slugging percentage over that stretch.



He has meant much more to this young Blue Jays team than just his numbers at the plate.  Springer is one of the top center fielders in majors and he along with All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien, who was announced as the winner the Blue Jays 2021 Heart and Hustle award on Tuesday, have constantly brought leadership to the clubhouse. 



After a few trade deadline additions and with the talent brought in over the offseason to go along with the young stars in Toronto, they are going all in on being contenders for a World Series Championship this season.  Springer has the most experience out of the group, and players will look for him to lead the way both at the plate and on the bench whenever the playoff pressure is at its highest.

Springer and the Jays have a few games left in their series against the newly named Cleveland Guardians before a huge weekend series that will see the Boston Red Sox come to town.