HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- George Springer is officially heading to free agency.
The superstar outfielder declined the Houston Astros' qualifying offer of a one-year, $18.9 million deal to remain with the team that drafted him nine years ago.
Springer, 31, could remain with Houston for a contract worth more than the amount in the qualifying offer, but he is seen as a marquee free agent this offseason.
For the Astros, the qualifying offer is a procedural move. If Springer signs with a new team, his former club would receive a draft pick as compensation.
After the 2019 season, the Astros made the same move with former pitcher Gerrit Cole, who then declined the qualifying offer of $17.8 million before signing a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees.
Other big MLB names similarly declined qualifying offers with their former teams, including newly-minted NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds.
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