Ok. We’ve seen enough. Corey Seager needs to be a Dodger for life. If he isn’t, it may be the biggest regret for the franchise in decades. Don’t believe us? Hear us out.
- Prospect Pedigree
- Career So Far
- His Incredible 2020
- The Mookie Seager 1-2 Punch
- Making An Offer
And with the 18th pick in the 2012 draft, the Dodgers selected high school shortstop Corey Seager. The younger brother of Mariner’s Kyle Seager, Corey was drafted straight out of high school. It seems they saw the potential of this superstar right away in the Dodgers organization.
He would end his first 46 games by sliding into the 7th spot in the Dodger’s prospect rankings. He OPS’d .903 in the rookie league slashing a gaudy .309/.383/.520 with 21 walks to 33 strikeouts.
By the end of 2013 he worked his way all the way to the 48th overall prospect in baseball. He struggled after his promotion, but before that was having a torrid run in Glendale. He slashed an almost identical .309/.389/.529 and stole 9 bases for good measure.
In 2014 he was promoted to the 13th overall prospect at the age of 20. He was promoted again this year but this timed didn’t slow down. He had a career year slashing .349/.402/.602 in 475 at bats. He had 20 homers, 50 doubles, 97 RBI, 89 R, and 6 stolen bases.
In 2015 he tore his way through AA Tulsa with. a .375/.407/.675 line, but slowed down in AAA with a .783 OPS for 85% of his year. Still it was enough to earn the 2nd prospect ranking behind Byron Buxton (Hahahaha). And it was enough for the Dodgers to call him up in September and the postseason.
He rose to the challenge again slashing .337/.425/.561 in his first 27 games before almost disappearing entirely in the postseason. Still he would start the next year as the MLB’s number 1 overall ranked prospect before graduating to his Rookie of the Year campaign.
Career So Far
In Seager’s rookie year, at the age of 22, he would play 157 games at shortstop for the division winning Los Angeles Dodgers. He saw a career high 627 at bats and 193 hits to slash .308/.365/.512. He hit 40 doubles, 26 homers, and 5 triples. He scored 105 runs, and knocked in 72.
Overall he produced 6.1 WAR in his first full season. It was enough to be the Unanimous NL Rookie of the Year. And beyond that, it was enough for 3rd place in MVP behind Kris Bryant and Daniel Murphy respectively.
2017 saw Seager come back to earth finishing the year batting under .300 for the first time in the MLB. But not really because his slash line was still .295/.375/.479 in 145 games and 539 at bats. He still hit 22 homers and 33 doubles keeping him in line with his pace from the year before. And even improved his walk rate which was his biggest weakness as a rookie.
But in 2018 and 2019, Seager was plagued with injuries. See only played 26 games in 2018. And even though he played 134 in 2019, his .272/.335/.483 slash line still felt disappointing after Seager took the Show by storm.
But then we saw the return of a king this last year. He played 52 of the regular 60 games and that was because of a relatively short DL stint. In his 212 at bats he slashed a much more Seager like .307/.358/.585 for an overall OPS of .943.
And according to statcast he was incredibly unlucky still. They say he should’ve batted closer to .330/.410/.653 for an expected OPS of 1.063. And he ranked in the top 3 percentile in just about every important stats for hitters this last year.
He had a career high 93.2 MPH average exit velocity. A career high 15.8% barrel rate and 55.9% hard hit rate. He just about doubled his career Home Run per plate appearance rate of .038 to .065 last year. Most likely due to being healthy and to the muscle weight he put on in the offseason.
He was 15th in the NL in runs, 20th in doubles, 9th in homers, and 7th in total hits. And we haven’t even mentioned his pair of MVP awards in the postseason where he OPS’d a career high 1.171 on his way to his first World Series Championship.
And even though Tatis will probably win the 2020 honors above Seager, he still finished 9th in MVP voting. And with his performance on the year, it’s hard not to think that he could’ve won it if it was a normal 162 game season. He never OPS’d less than .893 in a month in 2020.
And at only 26 and entering his prime, it seems the best is yet to come for Corey as long as he can stay healthy. And considering Tommy John doesn’t seem too likely to be needed again, and his hip seems to be holding up well after surgery, he doesn’t seem any more injury prone than any professional athlete.
The Mookie Seager 1-2 Punch
Right now, no one is guaranteed to be a Dodger as long as Mookie Betts is after his 12-year extension, $365 million extension. And nothing was more potent for the Dodgers offense than pairing him with Seager atop the lineup.
Including the postseason, the Dodgers were 31-10 (.756) when Betts and Seager were the 1 and 2. Thanks to True Blue LA we have a good breakdown of what the offense had done with that combo up till Game 2 of the World Series.
They were 16-9 when they didn’t have them paired at the top. That is still a respectable .64 winning percentage. But it’s the difference between 102.6 wins in a 162 game season, and what would be a record breaking 122.5 wins.
So considering that the Dodgers tree already locked in to Betts, it seems that Seager is a logical piece to lock down based on this 78 game sample size.
So hopefully by now you see why we think Seager can be part of the backbone of a decade of Dodger greatness. But locking him down won’t be cheap. Even in his worst full season, he produced 3.3 WAR. He’s projected to produce 5.4 in 2021 now that he’s healthy again.
So in order to establish a price we need to do some rough estimates. He’s produced 20.1 WAR in his first 541 games or roughly .0372 WAR per game played. And considering he’s already seen peaks and valleys in his career, we think this will be a good estimate for the foreseeable future.
In order to make Seager a Dodger for life, they’ll need to guarantee him close to what they guaranteed Betts with 10 to 12 years. And we’ll make a very conservative guess that Seager will play, on average, 130 games a season.
So at that range, we are talking about 1300 to 1560 games of Seager over the next 10 to 12 years. And with the rough guess of average WAR he’ll produce it’s a range of 48.36 to 58.03 WAR.
Now this year will most likely change the value of 1 WAR on the free agent market, but most recently it was averaged at about $8 million a year per 1 WAR. So at full market price Seager should cost anywhere between $386.88 and $464.24 million.
But obviously the point of an extension of this size is a guarantee for the player and a discount for the team. So we’re going to say a rough 50% is a fair offer given the circumstances.
We say offer Seager a 10-12 year extension, with a front loaded salary of $195 to $240 million. Seager and his family will be set for life after the contract, with a few playing years possibly left, and the Dodgers may save just as much when it comes to production value.
Not to mention, before the pandemic, free agents were just increasing in price. And in all honesty, he should be paid more. We’re hoping he just wants to stay in LA if he can.
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