The Dodgers will welcome Corey Seager back for the 2019 season. It will be a big season not only for the Dodgers’ title hopes but also for Seager’s looming mega contract.
There was a lot of hope that the Dodgers would land a star player this off-season given the trade of Yasiel Puig and the big free agent class. The class was once looked at as a free agency period full of stars and while it still has Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the class did not end up as big as it looked years ago.
Many thought the Dodgers would go all-in to land Bryce Harper and help boost their chance at finally bringing a World Series title back to Los Angeles. While they could still land Harper, the odds are looking less likely by the day with the Phillies wanting to throw “stupid money” around and land a star with Harper being their preferred all-star.
The Dodgers have reason to limit their spending and that is due to their core of youngsters who are starting to get more expensive by the season. Some of the core will also reach free agency in the coming years including Corey Seager who will be a free agent after the 2021 season. The free agency period after the 2021 season figures to be full of all-star shortstops as it projects to include Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, and Francisco Lindor. Even Brandon Crawford will be a free agent although he is much older at thirty-five years old in 2021.
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There is a good chance that some if not all the star shortstops will reach long term extensions before entering free agency. Much like this off-season with Manny Machado and Bryce Harper fighting for the biggest contract, the shortstop class of 2021 could be very similar with them all vying for the biggest contract. Once one of the shortstops sign a lucrative long term contract the rest should sign extensions shortly after since the price point to beat will be laid out.
For Corey Seager and the Dodgers, in particular, the 2019 season will be a big year for both. For the Dodgers, their World Series title hopes depend on Seager being fully healthy and back to form as he returns from Tommy John and hip surgery. If Seager returns to form then the Dodgers should start looking into a long term deal to keep Seager in Dodger blue for years to come. While Seager will likely end up at third base in the future, he is their best young hitter and easily the most polished of the group.
Joc Pederson has been forced into a platoon with him being unable to hit lefties and Cody Bellinger faces questions about his ability to hit left-handers in 2019. Unlike them, Seager has lefties as good as anyone on the Dodgers. Over the past three seasons, Seager has hit .280 against southpaws with an OPS two points under .800. Seager is one of the main youngsters that the Dodgers need to build around and they need to make sure they keep him a Dodger far beyond the 2021 season.