Springer, Astros mum on report he declined extension

Springer, Astros mum on report he declined extension

VIERA, Fla. -- The Astros weren't commenting Wednesday on a FOX Sports report that said the team last year offered prospect George Springer a seven-year, $23 million contract extension, which he turned down.

Springer, 24, hit a combined .303 with 37 homers, 45 stolen bases and 108 RBIs last year between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said earlier this year Springer would join the Astros at some point in 2014, but he's struggled at the plate this spring and appears destined to start the year at Triple-A. Luhnow didn't comment on the report.

Springer -- Houston's No. 3 prospect, according to MLB.com -- was asked following Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Nationals about the report.

"I'm not going to talk about that," he said. "I'm here to play baseball."

The article suggests the team aimed to sign Springer to buy out his arbitration years, which could become costly if he's as good as advertised. A signing would also enable the Astros to call up Springer at any time without having to worry about the start of his arbitration clock.

Last year, the Astros signed second baseman Jose Altuve to a four-year, $12.5 million extension, buying out his arbitration years (the deal also came with two club options). Moves like that give the player some early financial stability, while the team gets a budget-friendly contract and a low-risk financial gamble.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.