Dodgers: Corey Seager Set to Return to Action on Opening Day
The weather in Los Angeles was warm, the baseball year just starting and by the eye test, nothing was wrong. It was simply time for Dodger baseball.
For one player, however, the spring would feel as cold as winter and the baseball calendar would fast forward from just beginning to rapidly closing.
Corey Seager felt forearm stiffness, the Dodgers placed him on the disabled list, there was an MRI, an announcement and Tommy John surgery.
Between the obvious issues and the underlying domino effect problems, Seager’s absence was huge for the Dodgers as they would lose their young superstar within a month of the season’s start.
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In his absence the Dodgers would be forced to fill his void with platoons, spreading the team thinner on the infield and ultimately forcing the team to trade five prospects to Baltimore in exchange for Manny Machado.
For the Dodgers 2017 rookie of the year, 2018 would be lost and all sights would simply be set on a return in 2019 at the same strength and effectiveness he left the field with the year before.
According to Dave Roberts, that is set to happen on Opening Day.
The news that Seager will return is a massive breath of fresh air for a Dodgers team that is already almost certain to be going without Clayton Kershaw on the mound to kick off the new campaign.
But, beyond the immediate excitement and perhaps relief caused by Seager’s return is a far bigger result that could change the team long-term: the Dodgers don’t need to platoon guys over to shortstop.
The plan was more than likely to give Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez shared time on the left side of the infield with the Max Muncy and the other of the two sharing time at second base.
While those two should still see some considerable time at second base to ease Seager back into play, their usage can be significantly more isolated to second base and the outfield, shortening their responsibilities and giving them a chance to focus more intently on the bat.
Besides the residual effects on other players, the Dodgers will gain an incredible amount simply from getting Seager back.
Seager’s bat at the top of the order and eventual defense are game-changing and with full health, the team will get all of that.
For now, the major victory is the return of a star to the Dodger lineup. That will happen in game one of the year.