This offseason will once again have Chicago Cubs fans daydreaming of major free agent splashes – especially given the loaded class of shortstops poised to hit the open market once the World Series wraps up this week.
At or near the top of that group is longtime Dodgers infielder Corey Seager, a two-time All-Star and former National League Rookie of the Year. Given the Cubs’ need for A) star power and B) a long-term building block to center their moves around, it’s easy to see why there are lines being drawn here.
But he’s not going to come cheap. After Francisco Lindor set the market with his 10-year, $341 million extension with the Mets last year, you know that Seager and his team won’t settle for anything under $300 million. Given the major upgrades needed on the pitching side of the equation this winter, spending that kind of money might not appeal to the front office right now.
That’s not to say Jed Hoyer is going to stand pat with his position players, either. Instead, he’s likely to spend on a smaller scale, looking for potential bargain moves or guys looking to re-establish their value on a prove-it deal. One such player could be the brother of the Los Angeles superstar in 34-year-old Kyle Seager.
To this point, the veteran had spent his entire career in Seattle. But this week, the Mariners informed him they would not be picking up his option for 2022 – sending him into free agency for the first time in his career. He’s coming off a year in which he uncharacteristically struggled, watching his usually contact-based offensive profile crater – replaced instead by a whole lot of swinging and missing.
Chicago Cubs: Kyle Seager could be a prime bounceback candidate in 2022
Seager struck out 24 percent of the time this season – the highest mark of his 11-year big league career – and up more than 10 percent year-over-year. He was chasing pitches out of the zone far more than he had up to this point and the results speak for themselves: a .212/.285/.438 line on the season.
He still has plenty of pop left in his bat, though, evidenced by his 35 home runs and 101 RBI. Seager’s glove work grades out pretty solidly, too – which is important for a team like the Cubs who will be looking to improve as a unit defensively moving forward.
The most obvious fit for Seager is as a potential platoon partner at third alongside Patrick Wisdom who certainly turned heads this year but also has some pretty glaring shortcomings in his game – namely his strikeout tendencies.
In his career, Seager has hit righties well – and, like I said, what he’s done well (at least prior to 2021) – making contact and grinding out at-bats – compliments areas of Wisdom’s game you’d like to see him improve. Going out and signing someone like Seager isn’t going to all of the sudden make the Cubs contenders. But he could be one of those sneaky moves that winds up paying off in a big way.