Let’s preface this by saying the Los Angeles Dodgers could very well keep Corey Seager and Trea Turner after 2021, trade Gavin Lux for another roster need, and move on with their super team in 2022. We’re not ruling that out whatsoever.
However, with a $263 million payroll this year, a painful Trevor Bauer situation, and a lot of money coming off the books in the offseason, perhaps the front office might want to square away some financial commitments instead of throwing long-term dollars in places they aren’t fully sold on?
Turner’s acquisition at the deadline represented a two-pronged approach that only a team as aggressive, fearless and quick-witted as the Dodgers could have executed.
If Seager stays, then great. The Dodgers have arguably the best middle infield in MLB for the next 1.5 seasons.
If he goes?
Then Turner can seamlessly take over at shortstop and the long-term contract negotiations can begin.
Trea Turner is proving he can displace Corey Seager as the Dodgers’ franchise shortstop.
So let’s explore the latter scenario, which would be upsetting … but also would feature an unbeatable Plan A. There’s absolutely no doubt the Dodgers are bracing for this.
Why? Seager is famously a client of agent Scott Boras, who will never settle for a penny less than what he deems is appropriate for his client. The Dodgers do print money, but Seager has appeared in just 45 games this year. He hasn’t homered since April 26. His defense is … fine, and might have to move to second base in the not-so-distant future.
Yes, he’s the reigning World Series and NLCS MVP but … his postseason resume from 2015-2019 was downright awful. Are the Dodgers going to pay Seager heavily after what will end up being around 625 MLB games? We’re not saying they definitely won’t, but it’s a question worth asking now that they’ve acquired a more durable option that’s a better defender, much more of a threat on the base paths, and more versatile … with the same amount of durability issues.
The Dodgers are still waiting for Seager and Cody Bellinger to get back on track, as injuries have derailed their season. The difference is that they have an out with Seager at the end of the season, whereas Bellinger is still under arbitration.
And now it’s clear they need to pay Chris Taylor because he’s far too valuable for the team to let walk in free agency. And what about Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Max Scherzer, Joe Kelly and Albert Pujols … all of whom will likely be hitting the open market?
The crazy part is that the Dodgers wouldn’t really be disrupting much if the infield featured Max Muncy at first, Taylor at second, Turner at short and Justin Turner at third base. We’d much rather they keep everyone and try to stomp out the competition with force yet again, but it’s hard to guarantee given their financial situation, as well as Seager’s underwhelming/injury-filled 2021.