in

Contingency Plans: What if Corey Seager Isn’t Ready for Opening Day?

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 26: Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers before the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on May 26, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

I let out a loud groan just writing this title, so I’d understand if Dodger fans collectively have a strong visceral reaction to this title. However, it is a possibility that needs addressing.

Corey’s Offseason And It’s Effect

Corey was only on the field for 26 games last season before he was shelved for the year. He underwent Tommy John surgery on May 4th and surgery on his hip on August 7th. It was reported a few days ago here that the Dodgers said Corey Seager was nearly 100 percent and ready.

The Dodgers obviously have to exercise patience when bringing Corey back to the field full time. Thankfully they have the entirety of spring training, and then some if they so choose. Tommy John surgery is a serious operation, but typically more for pitchers. Still, having to throw from shortstop is critical, and making sure the arm is ready for that sustained type of motion is crucial. Corey is still young — which makes all the difference for recovery.

Should Corey have some issues, or heaven forbid develops other injuries, the Dodgers still are blessed with options.

Dodgers Have Options Outside Corey

Every Dodgers fan’s favorite discussion to have, is the Dodgers biggest ‘good problem to have’ — that being platoons. Dave Roberts has already said in multiple places that platoons shouldn’t be as big of a part of the strategy this year. With that in mind, it still leaves the Dodgers with an embarrassment of riches in terms of options. If Corey Seager misses time, here are the options.

Kiké Hernandez

We’ve seen the ‘super utility man’ play just about everywhere but catcher. He’s so fun to watch and has such a great joy playing the game, that it’s easy to forget he’s serviceable or flat out great in the field at most positions. In the outfield, he isn’t the fastest man there, but he has a knack for getting really good jumps on balls. This makes up for his lack of speed, and makes him a good outfielder. He also has a pretty impressive arm. In the infield, I’m reminded of two plays–one at shortstop and one at second. Take a look at this from 2017

This one from 2018 had a lot of implications. We were in a tight race for 1st against Arizona (at the time) and this was a huge first out of the 9th in a 1-run game.

Now ‘the banana man’ won’t put up the same OPS and overall offensive contribution as Corey Seager. If we’re being fair there are very few shortstops in the league who could match Corey’s production. Still, Kiké put up pretty good power numbers last year and in a small role I firmly believe will continue to do so.

Chris Taylor

Fans have a tendency to only see his high strikeout total. Yes — he struck out a lot. However so did the rest of MLB unilaterally; that’s just where the game is going. He was still a 4.1 win player, and got on base at a rate of .331. If he could repeat 2017 levels of OPS and production–he’d be a top player in the NL. As it stands now, many outlets have included him on the top 20 list at his position. He can play in the outfield and in the middle of the infield. If the Dodgers prefer him in the outfield, that’d move Kiké in at SS more often.

Gavin Lux?

The Dodgers 2016 1st round draft pick put up great numbers in 2018 between Rancho and Tulsa.

  • BA: .324
  • OBP: .399
  • SLG: .514
  • HR: 15

This was done in 116 total games. Nobody’s expecting Gavin to be a power hitter — it’s not what he was drafted for. Still, 15 homers was honestly more than I expected. Will he hit 15 in the majors? Not likely, but nothing’s for sure. Gavin was drafted as a shortstop but he’s perfectly capable of playing 2nd base. Cody Bellinger got called up to the majors in 2017 due to a ton of injuries, but he was solidly in AAA, whereas Gavin Lux isn’t quite there yet. Most talking heads expect to see Gavin Lux during the September call ups, but stranger things have happened.

A Healthy Corey Seager Is Ideal

The Dodgers’ “embarrassment of riches” sure covers them in case of a catastrophe. Despite that, the most ideal outcome is a healthy, robust, Corey Seager. A former ROY, if he can give us a slugging percentage of .480+, that’s what the Dodgers and Dodger fans will want to see most. When he’s healthy, he’s one of the best and most exciting players in MLB, and an elite Dodger.

[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/andrew-friedman-on-dodgers-roster-no-weak-spot/2019/02/15/” type=”big” color=”red”] Andrew Friedman On Dodgers Roster: ‘No Weak Spot'[/button]

Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

27 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Taylor & Kike excellent utility players of the bench. No doubt but they are not everyday starters.

    Spin it anyway you want but that is the truth and if AF is planning to use them as full time players there will be ups and downs with the same results of inconsistent offense and early exit from the playoffs, yet again

    I hope to eat crow on my words.

    • How do you like crow prepared, because both are regulars, it is just a question of whether Taylor plays SS, 2b, or LF. In the last 2 seasons he has almost 1200 plate appearances and Baseball Reference has him at 9 WAR for that period; Fangraphs valued him at $63MM. That is a regular by any definition! Kiké is like a sixth man in the NBA, he is so valuable (Fangraphs 2018 value at $26MM) that it doesn’t matter which position he plays, he is a regular.

    • Personally I’m hoping you won’t eat crow–but only because I want Seager to play all year. Taylor and Hernandez I firmly believe are everyday players, but not nearly as good as Seager obviously.

      • No, he needs to eat crow 🙂 Even with Seager healthy then Taylor needs to be the regular second baseman with Kiké getting regular at bats while playing anywhere on the field other than catcher or pitcher.

        • Hello SoCal! Concur as both CT3 and Kike had enough playing time to total 38 HR’s between them last year. They played a lot. And for me they both bat RH, which IMHO is key because we know the vulnerability of this team perhaps will be against LHP.. One reason why I honestly am not thrilled to see both Muncy and Verdugo in there daily. And let it be known that Verdugo must earn the RF spot, not just have it handed to him.

    • They should bring Seager along very slowly for a month or so. I doubt he will open the season, and shouldn’t. I was one of those who thought he should have had surgery way before the season last year…

  2. How does a player get tagged as a “Utility player” isn’t it because they are so athletic and have such great attitudes they are willing to do whatever they can to help the team win? Kike played 145 games last year. Chris Taylor played in 155 game.I would say that is close to being full time players. JT Turner was at one time a “Utility Player” deemed to fragile to play everyday.

    Every Player playing professionally wants to PLAY!

    My Daughter is a PT and works with World Class athletes, Olympians,,, She tells me Seager will be fine.

    The Dodgers have groomed guys to be able to play several positions and they all have the hunger to play…In the Minors one of my favorites is Beaty he is now on the 40 man roster and I hope we see him compete for a spot. Beaty can really hit and play multiple positions.

  3. Without Corey I believe Dodgers will have Taylor at SS, a combination of Muncy and Hernandez at 2b, Bellinger at first base, and Verdugo in RF.

    • I think you may be right, because after all, Muncy needs a place to play and so will Freese at some point. Muncy may not have looked ‘amazing’ at 2nd base but the funny thing is that the metrics liked him there, so who knows.

    • even a ten percentage point reduction would put him at 2017 level which was good enough to put up all star type stats

      • Well, I didn’t assume all the non-strikeouts would become hits, but he certainly could get back to the .275-.280 range.

        • In 2017 Taylor’s K rate was 25% and last season 29.5%; getting back to his 2017 level would put him around of the same slash line: .288/.354/.496/.850. Those are all star caliber stats for a second baseman.

          • OK, I took the simplistic approach of reducing his 178K’s in 2018 by 25% (about 45 less K’s) and gave him credit for finding another 12-13 hits on those balls in play and assuming the same number of at bats not plate appearances would put him at .276-.277. a different way to arrive at similar results, but I do like the .288/etc from 2017. You looked at PA’s, the K percentage for ABs or balls put into play basically was 33.2% in 2018 and 27.6% in 2017. We both agree we would like to see the 2017 version (or better) of CT in 2019.

      • Exactly SoCalBum many fans do not give Hernandez or Taylor the credit for their play that they deserve. They want the shiny popular guy that is trending in the media like a Harper who wants an insane contract.

        Taylor and Kike are both exceptional, have great attitudes and play great Defense at every position and they play with some offensive Pop… Be thankful.

        Seattle said that giving up Taylor was one of the worst deals they ever made.

        Fans are down on Barnes and Taylor I do somewhat understand but these are professional guys with pride and a huge competitive streak or they would not have made it this far. Give them an opportunity to play better and correct their issues. There are new batting coaches this year and many speak very highly of them. Let’s give them and the players some room.

        This Dodger Team may be exceptional. Every Season is tempered by If’s…If there is an Injury, if a guy comes back from this or that.

        If Kershaw is able to regain some of his velocity, If Ryu stays HEalthy along with Pollock. If Barnes can be the 2017 version, if Bellinger can duplicate his rookie year, if Verdugo can meet expectations….

        But every team has those ifs….

  4. I too am hoping that Corey Seager is ready by opening day 2019! However, when Seager himself says “he can’t guarantee he will be ready by opening day but he has not had any setbacks in his rehab” according to what he said at the Dodgers Fan Fest, I’m a little concerned. Also depending on how much playing time he gets this spring will tell. I already read Seager will play with the minor leaguers before he rejoins the major leaguers. Posters correct me if you read/hear differently.

    • You are spot on, but it seems that this has been the plan since surgery. Encouraging that he is tracking to plan, but it will not surprise me if he starts the season the the injury list and during the season play another position (second base? first base?) that is not as demanding on his arm as playing shortstop.

  5. How about moving Seager to 2nd where there would not be those long throws and signing Manny to play short? That would be a dream infield.

  6. I never understand why playing in minor league games would be any different than playing with the major league squad, where BTW, he will be seen by the major league manager and coaches.

    For the admin: I always click on Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment, but its never there the next time I access?

    • Playing in the minor league games is even better; Dodgers could have Seager leadoff every inning, even for both teams, if they want him to get extra at bats against live pitching. Same issue with name and e mail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dodgers to Add Chase Utley in Undecided Front Office Role

Dodgers News: Walker Buehler’s Teammates Are Glowing About Him