And, besides Bauer’s six-inning brilliance against the Rockies on Friday, discussions about the 26-year-old Seager returning to Los Angeles in 2022 are still lurking right at the top of the blogosphere’s news board, a conversation topic that won’t be going away anytime soon.
While there were some rumors that Los Angeles management had engaged with Seager over the winter in contract talks, Seager himself told the media that a contract extension is not his highest priority once the season inched near.
“I don’t really want to talk about that, to be honest,” Seager said during 2021 spring camp. ““That’s not the focus at all. The focus is right now. We’ve preached for a long time that it’s day to day. We’re showing up and we’re doing everything we can to be ready today. Once games start, try to win a game that day. There’s no other thinking.”
On Twitter, there has been speculation galore. MLB insider John Heyman shared a tweet on March 30 confirming the idea that Seager and the Dodgers were unsuccessful with regards to a contract extension.
Moreover, there has been conjecture about the Yankees being the front-runners in a prospective Seager free-agent sweepstakes, the Charlotte native’s favorite squad as a youngster.
What’s more, the Marlins could conceivably be in the running when considering Seager’s high regard for Derek Jeter.
“Both of my parents are from Upstate New York, so my dad was a Yankees fan, and I grew up a Yankees fan,” Seager said in a 2016 interview. “Jeter’s a great player, great person, great teammate. He’s just a true professional. And I’m still waiting to meet him.”
Surprisingly, there has been a small sect of Dodgers fans who think the team may be better off without Seager, suggesting that he is injury prone and that he is not ideally built to play shortstop. However, Seager has only visited the injured list twice officially during his career—a 29-game stint for a hamstring strain during the summer of 2019 and the full season he missed for UCL surgery in 2018.
In 2016, he appeared in 157 games. In his comeback year after surgery, he still played in 134 games despite the tender hammy. Last year, he played in all but eight regular season games.
Aside from Lindor’s ridiculous 7.2 bWAR in 2018, Seager’s perennial bWAR numbers consistently rival any marks registered by the New York Mets shortstop. In his two years as a big leaguer, Tatis has yet to eclipse the 5.0 bWAR mark (although his 2.8 WAR was sixth-best in the bigs last year). Seager has already eclipsed a 5.0bWAR twice.
Seager’s current offensive streak, stretching back to last year’s playoffs, has been nothing short of insane. He slugged five homers, two doubles, and 11 RBI in the 2020 NLCS, securing the series MVP. He also stole MVP honors in the World Series after going 8-for-20 with another two long balls.
In 2021 Cactus League play, Seager slashed an extremely impressive .346/.424/.827 with eight homers and 16 RBI in just 13 games.
In the first two games of the regular season against the Rockies, he went 5-for-8 with a double and three walks.
Obviously, Seager won’t continue this pace through October, but if he comes anywhere close to maintaining his typical production lines in 2021, his price will certainly increase by the time he finally secures his new deal.
This year, he’s scheduled to earn $13,750,000.
With Bauer, Turner, Mookie Betts, and David Price combining for more than $110 million in payroll next year by themselves, at this point it’s tough to guess just how far the Dodgers will go with Seager.
And that’s not even considering a deal for Clayton Kershaw.