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Why The Dodgers Might Explore A Corey Seager Trade

The day you never thought would come, could be approaching.

The Los Angeles Dodgers feel like they are going to at least look to make a splash this off-season. While the rumor on Monday has the team looking into pursuing shortstop Francisco Lindor, the rest of us are left wondering what that means for the incumbent shortstop.

Indeed, the elephant in the room is Corey Seager.

Personally, Seager is one of my all-time favorite Dodgers. It goes without saying, I would hate to see him wearing another uniform. However, I think the Dodgers are going to look into trading Seager this off-season. Furthermore, I believe the Dodgers could already have removed that ‘untouchable’ label on Seager for the first time.

In fact, I believe it’s quite possible that the Dodgers could be highlighting Seager as a marquee piece in a blockbuster trade this off-season.

Now, let’s take a look at the reasons – among many – that I believe you’re about to hear Corey Seager’s name in some trade rumors this winter.

Seager Likely Still Has High-Perceptive Value Around Baseball Circles

Amongst the Los Angeles fan base, Seager is still viewed (perhaps in biased sense) as an elite player. In reality, Seager has become merely a solid player entering his age-26 season. In 2019 – Seager tallied a 4.0 bWAR – which is solid. With that being said, it’s a far cry from the 5.9 and 5.7 bWAR seasons he put up in 2016 and 2017. Remember, we believed that was this young player only scratching the surface.

Truth be told, Seager has spent about two full years fending off one significant injury after another. This began before the 2017 World Series when he missed the entire NLCS. That’s a long time for a player not to be fully healthy. Also, if you watched Seager in 2019; it seemed like he never got comfortable.

What I noticed was him spoiling a high-degree of hitters’ pitches. In the first half of the year, I examined his batted-ball data; which showed he wasn’t barreling pitches like he has the rest of his career.

All of this led to a .272/.335/.483 slash line in a year where the juiced ball was marveled at. In short, it’s decent enough to say he did fine. Still, this was a slight step back from a middle-of-the-order masher he expected to develop into during his prime years. Now, here we are.

The take home message in this portion of the column is that if the Dodgers know due to injuries or any reason that Seager’s stock is higher in league circles than in the organization; there’s an opportunity to create a market for him.

Finally, the key variable that no one knows is if Seager’s stock has taken a hit internally within the Dodgers’ organization. To that I say it has.

Seager is a Scott Boras Client and Soon Due For a Raise

Indeed, Seager is a client of the famed super-agent Scott Boras. His salary was $4 million in 2019, and he will garner raises as he goes through the arbitration process for 2020 and 2021. Then, Seager will have his free agency if those years aren’t bought out via some type of contract extension. Therefore, two key points come up.

  1. Seager still has two years of affordable team control, for the Dodgers or someone else. Given his performance, this carries value.
  2. Without question, Boras will push for Seager to be paid amongst the game’s elite; somehow.

Let me ask you a question: do you think Boras is prepared to give the Dodgers any type of hometown discount? Fast forward to the winter following the 2021 regular season. It’s quite possible that Boras is still selling the virtues of Seager’s 2016 and 2017 near-elite seasons along with solid performances scattered throughout 2019 to 2021. Without a doubt, you will have 28-year old Seager and Scott Boras pushing for a six to eight or possibly ten year pact at around at least $300 million.

Because that’s what Boras does.

Surely, the Dodgers can expect this is coming. With other young players that will have extensions already on the way or being negotiated, would you give Seager a contract of that size?

You Have To Part With Something of Value to Gain Something of Value

Whether it be an elite pitcher to fill Hyun-Jin Ryu’s spot that isn’t a free agent, or a player like Lindor; the Dodgers will need to give up something of value. As we have seen in the past, teams aren’t just going to take Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling and give us one of their best trade assets. Therefore – to open up a door that was previously not thought to be open – Los Angeles would need to be willing to surprise with someone who was not previously made available.

If you follow the Dodgers closely, they have two options. First, they can remain mostly status quo and sign a few players after being outbid for Gerrit Cole and/or Anthony Rendon. Then, they can field the same core that has fallen short four straight seasons, of which Seager is a part of. Second, they can take one of those core members with complimentary pieces and flip it for an upgrade. It’s highly unlikely that they stand-pat and do nothing. To accomplish something, they will need to part with something of heavy value. If not Seager, then who?

Reading between the lines, I think the Dodgers are saying internally that they at least believe they can upgrade at the shorstop spot. The reasons listed above could just be a few of the items that have them leaning in this direction. However, they are only likely to do it if it’s someone truly in the ‘elite’ category. For example, how many shorstops are really in a class of Lindor and likely to be available in the first place? There would need to be a contingency plan in place at the position – and if the Dodgers aren’t somehow acquiring a new shorstop – there would need to be a large upgrade at another spot for them to part with Seager. You can speculate which players are worthy of that in the comments.

Conclusion

As I wrap up this column, this is based largely on watching Seager closely, reading between the lines, and the dangerous ‘gut feeling’. Still, as I look up on my wall and see the picture of Corey Seager hanging on the wall; I feel strongly that you will hear his name rumored about this winter.

Perhaps nothing ever comes of it, and he’s the shortstop in the two-hole come Opening Day 2020. Of course, that would be my choice if I had it in a perfect world. However, baseball organizations can’t operate on sentimentality forever. The reality of the baseball world is that our heroes are merely assets, and too many jobs and legacies ride on the line to wait for a player to breakthrough forever.

While you and I might feel in our hearts that an MVP year is coming again for Corey Seager, the key question is what the Dodgers feel. And the most important question is what needs to happen in order for them to make a splash without Seager, because the winds of change are blowing right now in Los Angeles.

Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

45 Comments

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  1. There are two reasons the Dodgers would consider trading Seager, they “know” he will not sign a contract extension before testing the free agent waters; and / or, they are offered a trade they cannot refuse (Nolan Arenado, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts as examples). Trading Seager would leave a hole at SS for Dodgers. Some might say Gavin Lux can take over, but his SS defense in the minors was horrible (throwing problems), Jeter Downs is at least one year away, and I don’t see Chris Taylor, or Kiké Hernandez being the teams full time shortstop. Dodgers could sign free agent SS Didi Gregorious for a boat load of money and loss of first round draft pick, but don’t be surprised if he returns to the Yankees.

  2. Seager is a great player but how he performed in the 2019 playoffs was awful. He struck out so many times and was swinging at balls a majority of the time. He can’t lay off a low pitch and any pitcher who knows that will throw offspeed at the knees and seager will fish for it. Again I enjoyed watching seager come up but if the dodgers want to win now (which is becoming redundant) then seager needs to be traded.

    • Why do you, and others, only focus on 2019 and ignore that he was the top rated (WAR) shortstop in MLB from 2015 through 2017? Coming back from TJ and hip surgery (2018) he was still equivalent to Francisco Lindor in 2019 (WAR 3.3 to Lindor’s 4.4; weighted runs created wRC+ of 113 to Lindor’s 114). With a full year of recovery and time this off season to work with Dodgers hitting coaches, I look for Seager to return to his 2015 – 2017 production.

      • Still waiting for Kiki Taylor and Pederson to make contact. So yeah they will wait, that’s what the Dodgers do. Other teams want to win a WS, Astros get Cole and Grienke, Nationals get Corbin. Dodgers, Wait Wait Wait.

      • Playoffs SoCal, playoffs. That’s something you and your shill friends always want to sweep under the rug

        • So the 20 ABs in the space of week sweep everything he’s done previously or every will under the rug. In the meantime, Anthony Rendon – who many here are demanding the Dodgers sign – has exactly 1 more hit in the same number of ABs in the present World Series. He’s not a shill; it’s called perspective.

          • We’re trying to win it all. You don’t do that by having guys that wiff and contribute very little in postseason play. His regular season numbers mean nothing in October

          • It’s called not doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Kinda like Seager swingong at every low pitch.

      • He barely played in 2015. He hasn’t been the same guy as he was in 2016 and 2017, if we are being honest. It’s been two years now. What if the organizations internal scouting knows there is a low % of him returning to form after those serious injuries? Lindor had almost a 5 bWAR year, coming off a 7.9 bWAR year. I don’t think a talent executive in baseball would do them even up; even with the wRC argument presented. It’s not that close, right now. As bad as I want it to be.

        • Lindor is a better fielder and doesn’t have Boras for an agent so if the organization knows something we don’t I get your point. But Seager is a better hitter and, if we’re being honest, missed almost all of 2018 with an injury that today is completely recoverable. If 2019 was a little down, I think he gets a pass. Who would you bet has a better chance at MVP in the future?

      • Seager is a high end journeyman which is the type player I love you can’t have too many of them like the 1988 infield. Our problem is everyday players need to play everyday.

        DW

    • No, he isn’t a “great” player, a term that is used far too often. Trout, Altuve, Betts, Arenado are great players. Seager is a good player. I don’t believe he’s the kind of player who can carry a team and like others have mentioned, his injury problems in his early 20’s should be a cause for concern. If the Dodgers could sign Lindor, then I have no problem saying goodbye to Seager or moving him to 3rd base with JT going to 1st and Muncy to 2nd. Lux hasn’t sold me yet.

        • I think Bellinger is in the elite category, and can certainly carry a team for stretches. Muncy is close. Verdugo has a shot to climb into that next tier as well; if given good health, however he is classified currently.

          • With all do respect Clint, the only thing great about Cody is his defense. Great players don’t slump for entire halves of seasons, and entire post seasons.

  3. Great article. The Dodgers will win their 8th consecutive division title with this core of players, but that’s about it. I’ve always like Corey Seagar, but no question that Lindor is an upgrade. In my opinion, he’s the best overall shortstop in the game. He’s made Cleveland a playoff team, when on paper they really aren’t. The Dodgers desperately need this type of player to get them over the hump.

  4. Must gave Lindor fir at least 2 years. We trade Seager AND Ruiz n it’s great. DI KOT TEADE URIAS, MAY OR GOSLIN. Get Wlii Smith RP , veteran catcher and a no. 3 starter

  5. Here’s a reason, he’s a playoff choker like a lot of his teammates. Get rid of everyone who can’t handle playoff pressure and keep those that can

    • In 2017, the Dodgers would’ve won Game 2 with Seager’s homer…if Jansen hadn’t blown a late lead.

      • If we have that many choke artists then I guess we do need to start over. Better than being insane and repeating the same failing formula

  6. Only reason to trade Seager right now, is if someone is overvaluing him (which I don’t see too many teams doing right now). He is coming off two injury heavy seasons, so his stock is at an all time low. If dodgers can sell high on him, then sorry, but how can you not move forward with a trade, but if any team tries to under cut dodgers, just walk away.

    FWIW the FO knows how to deal. Closest Friedman has ever gotten to getting fleeced was Alvarez for Fields, but realistically, Alvarez just improved at a rate no one saw coming!

    • Or if someone just still sees him as elite, and the Dodgers know their product or personnel better than anyone; and don’t see him as a sure thing anymore. Again he’s entering his age 26 year, has an injury history of a Tolstoy novel, and hasn’t really been healthy in two years. He is not 23 anymore. It’s just not unfortunately gone the way I thought it would go, with him being the Dodgers equivalent of a Derek Jeter

  7. All we really NEED to put us over the top is a big time signing. Someone like Gerrit Cole. If we end up trading Seager, we’d better be getting a player back that’s better than him. Someone like Mookie Betts or Francisco Lindor. But I think a Gerrit Cole pursuit is a must.

    • Well then you need to understand this phrase: Get used to disappointment… sad as that may be.

  8. Look at the picture on your wall. Seager hitting in an upright position with a level swing. The Dodgers emphasize way too much on HRs. A HR only gets you 1 run and with the elevated swing and the dropping to one knee going for the HR ball is causing way too many SOs. Look at the 1st 2 months with Beli. Hitting to all fields and even the occasional bunt to beat the shift. What we need is a hitting coach(AND a mgr) who teaches the basics, hitting to the opposite field Maybe going for a HR on the 1st cpl pitches is OK, but see the Dodger hitters do it with 2 strikes and a runner on third with less than 2 outs (ala Taylor) and trying to be a hero and hitting a HR instead of trying to make contact and scoring a run.

  9. Great reads by all here. One basic simple obvious need for the Dodgers is more contact hitters. Looks like the Stro’s will win yet another championship and what they have are several 300 hitters. Batting Avg and on base % is why both the Nats and Stro’s are where they are, and the Dodgers aren’t The Stro’s pen is also better than the Nats. This series shows exactly what the Dodgers need to do to get to the level of these teams. Seager for Lindor would be a step forward to more contact hitters and better on base avg. bull pen closer is obvious as Osuna is better than anything the dodgers have. If the Dodgers are going to go anywhere, they have to beat the Top. The team needs to match up with both the Nats and Stro’s.We don’t have the hitters with avg to do so, or the 1 – 2 shutdown starter they do, or the bull pens. Lot of work to do, but the team isn’t that far off if they would spend 40 million which they have this off season.

    • Kirk, while i concur as far as what ya say in regards to HR’s or bust, remember that in today’s game home runs are up everywhere and if ya want to see the team shy away from HR’s ,fine, but the pitching then needs to keep the ball in the yard, especially in the PS. Dodgers literally got beat from a taste of their own medicine…see Game 5 in NLDS.

  10. Look at all of our 30 prospects. The Dodgers are placing too much emphasis on power and absolutely none on speed. With the shift being employed by all teams, hitting to the opposite field and bunting to the non-shift side become more important.

  11. Clint, what ya stated here in those options, I tend to believe your first option just might be what takes place:
    “First, they can remain mostly status quo and sign a few players after being outbid for Gerrit Cole and/or Anthony Rendon. Then, they can field the same core that has fallen short four straight seasons, of which Seager is a part of.”
    Again, I am not convinced this trade would take place for Lindor, if for no other reason that Seager alone will not be enough to pull a trigger on any deal. I also believe the 1st option is what would take place because Roberts is returning as manager and everyone has already mentioned their reactions to his handling of the pitching decisions in this year’s NLDS. Again, I have to also believe that just perhaps Lindor and or other elite player may not find the Dodgers to be a good fit due to these players perhaps seeing their playing time compromised and knowing of the daily lineup and position shuffling. It has shown to work in the regular season playing in a division that isn’t that great but come playoff time, that’s a different story.

    • Always appreciate you stopping by, Paul. I think they will try to make a splash. Do they make the splash or come up with another Pollock type acquisition?

  12. Corey’s my Favorite Player I have not had the chance to meet in person so He can Sign my Seager5 jersey. Overall Seager has had his stuggles @ bat I noticed over the years he pulls his head but still has a good powefull swing and His D Fence is outstanding will never replace a SS like him I watch other SS in league and noticed he always plays hurt and can throw on a dime in any direction. I say no trade if anything sent back down to rebuild his swing… Lets talk about trading Pollack LOL

  13. When you bring up good young players like they did with Seager, Bellinger etc you have to make a decision which ones to keep and which ones to replace with another good young player. If you keep them all and sign them as freee agents it costs you tons of money and keeps the good young players from breaking into the big leagues. Seager might just be the first one to get moved. Who would be next when they reach free agency? Belli, Urias, Pederson, Stripling?

    • I have thought for some time that the Dodgers might start considering a trade involving Seager. With both Belli and Urias also Boras’ clients I can see and agree with the team prioritizing signing Belli long term over Seager which would make trading Seager a logical move. Marketing him as still young and a few years of team control could make him more attractive while not having to use multiple top prospects to entice teams. A trade for Lindor could offer a short term upgrade at SS while allowing the team to assess the progression of a younger prospect like Gavin Lux or Jeter Downs that could take over.

  14. This team must make a splash and trade away at least one big name. Seager is my first choice, followed by Bellinger. If fans say we are in a must win now situation, then you need to to accept the moving of the 2 guys that fail most in post season. Obviously, we should expect a lot in return though.

  15. I agree that it is time to trade Seager. I have 4 reasons – and this is from someone who loved Seager as a rookie.
    1) He’s Below Average Defensively. He has below average range and does not steal hits away like so many SS’s do regularly. His range will only get worse with age.
    2) He’s Injury Prone. He gets hurt too often and it’s getting worse not better. He’s a 6’4 SS and injury prone, he’s not getting faster, only less durable and less spectacular.
    3) He Can’t Hit Lefties. It’s now official, Seager is a well below average hitter against left handed pitching and it’s getting worse.
    4) He Sees Too Few Pitches. If I see him swing at the first pitch and ground out to 2nd again I’m going to lose my mind. He does not work the count and seems to be oblivious to the game situation. (Check Nationals DS game after 3 straight walks, he swung at first pitch – a ball of course)

  16. Forget the Seager trade, yes he’s had a couple years battling those injuries but he’s trying to bounce back. I feel that what she should do is trade Pollock and Baez who I feel bring hardly anything to the team especially Baez instead of thr possible infield and outfield trades let’s work on the bullpen.

  17. I’d be okay with seager being dealt, BUT IT MUST PACKAGE AJ POLLOCK. That guy is a complete joker and needs to go. If anyone went to any games in SF, SD, and a few in LA THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE YEAR, I always said out loud, that pollock sucks and to not let me down. Well, he did by striking out 90% of the time in the playoffs. #puignotyourfriend #imisspuig

  18. Friedman while very successful comes from Tampa Bay where playoffs were a huge het and he still has that type of mentality or least least he wont make aggressive trades. Prospects are sacrosanct.
    The Dodgers need to use thier assets, both cash and prospects and go from a team full of good to very good players to good players very good players and between pitching and everyday players 5 great players.
    Just as an example, I’m a Mets fan and when deGrom was putting up his record setting season culminating in a 1.70 era, I was hoping were could work a trade with you guys. He is the type of player the Dodgers need. In his 187 starts Jacob has given up 1 run or 0 runs 47% of the time.
    Had they traded for him the likely cost at the time would have been Buehler, Lux and Verdugo.
    You have to look back at what they were then.
    If the Dodgers got a deGrom (prospects)
    Rendon (money) and Lindor (3 way trade)
    I know Rendom wasnt available then so let’s say Machado with the other 2 and Rendon going forward you would have had 2 WS with a couple more on the horizon. Friedman is too risk adverse..especially with prospects.

  19. Should the dodgers trade Bellinger too. He didn’t contribute much from the cleanup spot against the Nationals. Even a moderate contribution would have won it for the dodgers.

    The dodgers won 106 games. Does that suck? When you win more games than ever is that the signal to dismantle your team?

    Seager shouldn’t be traded. And he has no more history of injuries than the average Dodger other than the rotator cuff, which always requires a year off.

    Kelley was a dumb acquisition last year. He stunk all year long. Pollack was a dumb acquisition. He’s the one with a real injury history throughout his career. In other words the Dodgers do better with their farm system than with trades. They should stay the course. It’s what got them to multiple consecutive division titles and two world series appearances. But if they’re tired of going to the postseason I guess they could get rid of their homegrown talent for two or three players. I’m sure the Padres would like to take over the division for awhile with all the talent in their farm system. But they make mistakes too. Although Machado did little for the Dodgers in 2018, he was a cheap aquisitions with high potential in a fill in role. The Padres bought the farm on Machado for the rest of his useful life, and he was only somewhat above average for the Padres last year. I predict that Seager will outperform Machado next year regardless of who he plays for far less money.

    Friedman’s a good gm. He has made some great diamond in the rough aquisitions, like Max Muncy. He should stick to this strategy of identifying and developing low cost internal and external talent. Everyone knows that Rendon and Cole are great. It doesn’t take much brains to figure that out. What does take brains , and far less cash, is finding and developing the next Rendon and Cole. And what takes guts is resisting everyone’s ranting and raving about dismantling your team. It ain’t broke. Don’t fix it.

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