Springer, Astros prospects sent down

Outfielder reassigned in expected moved that delays service time

George Springer begins the season as the Astros' No. 3 prospect, according to MLB.com. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | March 20, 2014 4:40 PM ET

Well, that settles that.

George Springer, seen by many as being Major League-ready right now, was one of six big-named prospects sent down to Minor League camp by the Astros on Thursday. Carlos Correa, Mark Appel, Delino DeShields and Mike Foltynewicz were also reassigned while Jon Singleton was optioned.

Ranked as MLB.com's No. 21 overall prospect entering the 2014 season, Springer split his time between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City last year, where he combined to slash .303/.411/.600 with 37 home runs, 108 RBIs and 45 steals. He came close to becoming the first member of the Minor League 40/40 club since 1956 and the fifth verified member in history.

The 24-year-old struggled some in Spring Training with a .161/.333/.194 slash line and no home runs across 39 plate appearances. (He did walk eight times and steal four bags in that span, however.) He will return to the Pacific Coast League.

Thursday's news comes on the heels of a report by FOX Sports that the Astros had offered Springer a seven-year, $23 million deal that would have bought out three years of pre-arbitration, three years of arbitration and one year of free agency. According to Ken Rosenthal, Springer and his representatives rejected the deal.

As such, the demotion signals the Astros are likely to keep Springer in the Minors in an attempt to delay his service time and add another year before he can hit free agency. Had Springer accepted the deal, he could have joined the Astros immediately with no worry of service time. However, that would have had its price as Rosenthal indicates the 2011 first-rounder could earn close to $30 million in his three arbitration years alone, if he fulfills his potential.

Singleton -- MLB.com's top first baseman prospect -- will join Springer at Oklahoma City, along with Foltynewicz. DeShields is likely headed to Double-A Corpus Christi while No. 1 overall picks Appel and Correa are likely pegged for Class A Advanced Lancaster, although the former could be aggressively moved to the Texas League as well.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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