Dodgers: Losing Seager, What it Means, and Who Steps Up
By Jacob Rudner
At first, everyone thought it was a trip to the 10-day disabled list. Corey Seager was not listed on the game’s lineup card and Breyvic Valera was. The beat writers, the reporters, and the fans had no idea what was to come. Then, like a bomb had been dropped on everyone awaiting the news, the world learned that Corey Seager needed Tommy John Surgery on his right arm.
The news hit most like a truck. It barreled through them and left them feeling some strange combination of devastation and indescribable emptiness perhaps from all the hope that had fled out. Losing Seager to one of baseball’s most serious injuries was catastrophic enough but to lose him at a time in which the Dodgers are four games under .500 and already eight games out of first place, felt like the lowest of all blows.
Let’s not sugar coat it. Losing Seager for any period of time right now would have been bad. The Dodgers are already without Logan Forsythe, Justin Turner, and Yasiel Puig. In that time, struggling does not do justice to the poor play the team has put forth without them.
Losing Seager eliminates one of the hottest bats of the season at this moment. In his last 15 games, Seager is hitting over .300 with a home run and nine RBIs. His bat, as the season goes on,
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has historically gotten better and better and not having his constant production in the two-hole every night is a gut punch in itself.
Beyond his bat, Seager is defensively reliable. He has come so close to a Gold Glove in each of the past two seasons losing both times to the Giants’, Brandon Crawford. Removing Corey from the defensive mix leaves the team with either Chris Taylor or Enrique Hernandez to fill the role. While Hernandez is beyond solid, Chris Taylor is primarily an outfielder and to this point, is seldom a shortstop. He already committed an error in his first game there.
But, while this is devastating, there must be hope and backup options. The hope should come in this form:
Losing a player is never ideal. No team wants their 24-year old superstar shortstop to be sidelined by Tommy John Surgery. But, this could serve as a rallying cry for the Dodgers, an opportunity to unite and win for a player that has helped them do just that over the last few seasons.
Every year, the narrative of “the Dodgers have the most depth in baseball” resurfaces. Well, this year, it is going to be tested and tested early.
At the moment, Breyvic Valera, a defensively fluid infielder, is taking Corey’s roster spot. Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez will man short, and Alex Verdugo will get his shot at center field.
This situation may also provide an opportunity for Tim Locastro, Andrew Toles, and Donovan Solano to step up.
The Dodgers will hopefully get Justin Turner back in the semi-near future and that too will help in a big way as he is truly the heart and soul of this team, as well as its best hitter.
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Is the situation good? No. The Dodgers were playing poorly, to begin with, and this certainly does nobody any favors. Losing Seager is going to be hard but it will be a testament to the team’s depth, wit, and skill if they can work past it.
Corey Seager said on the situation:
“It is just the next man up mentality, that’s what we do.”
Do that they must, because the Dodgers have a hill to climb to reclaim their spot at the top of the division.