The Dodgers will have a franchise shaping decision to make when it comes to shortstop Corey Seager’s free agency next offseason. According to Spotrac, Los Angeles projects to be $45.5M over the Competitive Balance Tax threshold ($210M) this season.
With that in mind, will the Dodgers continue to spend and pay their taxes over the coming years to retain their homegrown talent?
ESPN’s Buster Olnley and Jessica Mendoza discussed the Dodgers’ payroll and it’s impact on Seager’s free agency on the ESPN Baseball Tonight Podcast.
“The agents are looking at the Dodgers payroll and they believe the Dodgers are kinda barreling towards that moment when they’re gonna have to choose between investing a long term deal in Corey Seager or Cody Bellinger.”
Olney then posed the Seager or Bellinger question to Mendoza, “Which guy would you take if you were the Dodgers?”
“You’re gonna make me do this? To me, it’s definitely Cody, and, I shouldn’t say definitely, because Corey Seager brings so much… as we saw last year. The career year that he had, he is someone that I just feel like because of the body, and not that Cody Bellinger is immune to injuries. I mean shoot, he can’t even give a forearm high five without dislocating his shoulder and now having shoulder surgery. But, I’m always drawn to the dynamic you know, the ones, I’m an outfielder, so ones that climb the wall, make the defensive plays, you feel like, just gosh, watching his swing, the capability that he really has to change the game.”
She expanded on her preference to re-signing Bellinger, noting Seager’s stubborn plate approach and reemphasizing Bellinger’s defensive talents.
“ …there’s something stubborn about Corey Seager,” Mendoza explained. “He’s always swinging at the first pitch. We’ve had so many conversations with Dave Roberts and he’s like ya, ‘we try to talk to him, pitchers know’. These are two great players. So it’s not that Corey Seager isn’t good enough. But if you’re having to make that decision and I’m a GM, I’m going with Cody Bellinger. And not because one is so much greater, but because I’m way biased towards the swing. The ability to do what he can do on any given day. Knowing — let’s be real — all the talents that’s around them. It doesn’t have to be about Cody or Corey because you have so many other guys in that lineup. I’d rather the guy that can do the Cody things that he does.”
LA’s President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, can navigate payroll challenges better than anyone. Dodgers fans certainly hope he can create a future where both Seager and Bellinger are in Dodger blue for years to come.
If they do have to pick between the two, who should they choose?