Many, many questions need to be answered before the Los Angeles Dodgers consider this, but perhaps everything works out and the team doesn’t end up dealing with a seismic shift due to an unthinkable departure in free agency.
The biggest one? Depends who you ask. But some might say Corey Seager, given how many more promising years he has ahead of him. Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor are undoubtedly essential, but we really don’t know how long any of them have left when it comes to being atop their game.
Seager has at least three prime years left at the age of 27 (he’ll be 28 in late April) and his bat projects to be around for the long haul. His glove? Not quite. But apparently the Dodgers are already on top of that.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times (subscription required), “a move to third base appears imminent” for Seager. These two sides already talked about an extension, too, so maybe they’re closer to a common ground than we imagined.
Could the Dodgers benefit from re-signing Corey Seager and moving him to third base?
Castillo also noted that a position switch won’t stop agent Scott Boras from seeking a $300 million deal for his client. OK. But does Boras know Seager’s inability to stay on the field plays a role here? How about his largely bad postseason track record outside of the 2020 fan-less run? There are a lot of factors that can and should drive down Seager’s asking price.
So let’s say the Dodgers aren’t wildly out-bid by a team like the New York Yankees. After all, Seager said after LA was eliminated from the NLCS that he wanted to come back. Maybe the two sides come to an agreement and the new CBA puts a designated hitter in both leagues.
Would this grand plan continue to maximize the Dodgers’ championship window?
- Re-sign Corey Seager, put him at third base
- Move Trea Turner back to shortstop
- Move Justin Turner to DH to preserve his health
- Talk extension with Turner. If not, Gavin Lux takes over at shortstop in 2023
- Figure out life after 2022 potentially without both Turners, spend big in free agency
This would solve the immediate concerns for 2022 on the offensive end. Then it would give the Dodgers a clearer picture for what might need to be addressed ahead of 2023. At that point, they’ll have others to worry about, too, like Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler — both of whom will be nearing the end of their arbitration years — as well as Max Muncy, who has a team option before hitting the open market.
It really depends which player LA really wants for the long haul. Seager or Trea Turner? Either way, if they sign Seager to a monster deal, they have money coming off the books after 2022 and will have just $52 million in guaranteed contracts for 2023 (though that number balloons to $182 million with rising projected arbitration costs.
Either way, you get the picture. There are ways for the Dodgers to keep this window wide open for 2022 and be able to pivot in 2023 should they sign Seager and put themselves in a bit of a financial bind. But what would such “bind” even look like for the Dodgers if $260 million didn’t feel like much this past season?