There may be no more consistent threat at the plate in the MLB playoffs right now than Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager. Coincidentally, there may also be no more feckless group, one through nine, than the Los Angeles Dodgers' star-studded offense.
Whether it's correlation or causation, it's factual: Seager, whose star never dimmed in October in Los Angeles, just carried an upstart contender to the ALCS on the strength of five consecutive mostly blowout victories. LA's gone down whimpering, led by Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman disappearing acts, through Games 1 and 2 against the Wild Card Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers, a franchise that's supposed to be uncapped financially, apparently reached their limit when it came time to pay for postseason success. Instead, they opted to save money and purchase dismal disappointment instead.
Seager's 14th career postseason home run sailed deep into the heart of Texas last night to help the Rangers clinch a surprise ALCS berth. The dinger came one game after he was walked a record five times in a single postseason game, cementing his role as the most prominent menace in a lineup that's scored 4, 7, 3, 11 and 7 runs across five straight playoff wins.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, are languishing, but at least Seager's All-Star successor, Trea Turner, also left the position in someone else's hands 10 months ago.
Why did Dodgers let Corey Seager walk to Texas?
Seager may not be a shortstop forever. The glove may age poorly. But championships don't age. Unsurprisingly, the also-ran franchise that chose to spend big on Seager, a slugger with a slow heartbeat, has lapped the Gold Standard Dodgers within two years under the bright lights.
Seager's 10-year, $325 million deal deserved second and third looks from Andrew Friedman, despite the somewhat awkward concurrent presence of Turner. The Nationals' All-Star was acquired alongside Max Scherzer in a 2021 blockbuster that seemed to unnecessarily disrupt the a prominent, functional area of the Dodgers' roster. Fans quickly attempted to rationalize the baton being passed from one All-Star to another, even if the incumbent was home grown and certified clutch, thanks to his 2020 postseason work.
It's safe to say the succession plan made even less sense when the successor departed, seemingly always set on moving to South Jersey to be close to his partner's family.
Now, Seager's in the Lone Star State for life, while the Dodgers are stuck searching for a lone star to lead them. Betts, who was paid the extension money Seager wasn't, is 0-for-7 in the NLDS and 3-for-34 dating back to the 2021 postseason. Freeman, an additional expenditure, has suddenly become more famous for staring at a Zac Gallen curveball, unable to react to mind-bending greatness.
Seager, the expendable one? He's soaked in champagne. But it's the Dodgers who are all wet.