This morning I was browsing twitter, trying to catch up on the morning baseball news and saw this tweet from Redleg Nation’s own Nick Kirby:
.@jonmorosi indicated on the MLB morning lineup podcast that the Dodgers could be losing faith in Corey Seager. I wonder if the Dodgers would be open to move him to create a spot for Gavin Lux? Seager has 2 years of control and would certainly fill a major need for the Reds.
— ???? ????y (@Nicholaspkirby) October 11, 2019
When I saw it my ears perked up in a big way. Corey Seager is a heck of a player. He missed most of the 2018 season with an injury. But the two years before that he was a borderline MVP candidate, and this year he was roughly an All-Star caliber shortstop. Toss in that he’ll be 26-years-old next year and you’ve got a highly valuable player who should be still improving and getting better. That’s exactly the kind of player every team should be looking at.
But because that’s the kind of player every team should be looking at, I found the idea that the Dodgers losing faith in him to be a bit strange. So off to The MLB Morning Lineup Podcast we go! Around the 23-minute mark Jon Morosi begins to talk about Corey Seager, with this:
I know he’s dealt with a lot of injuries, but I think the next year is going to tell us a lot about Seager. Seager was incredibly celebrated as a young player. Great guy, great family. We all know that. He’s a phenomenal young man. But in game 5, 0-4 with 3 strikeouts. If he’s going to fulfill the projection we’ve seen in him, that has to get better.
He’s dealt with a lot of injuries, but the point I’m making is we will know a lot about him in the next year. He’s now getting a little bit later in the arbitration clock. Who is he? I think that for the offseason they have to find some pitching answers. But I’ve got to know how many games I getting from my shortstop? And is he a perennial All-Star or is he not?
It’s certainly interesting that the whole injury thing was brought up and emphasized so much there. He did miss most of 2018. But he played 157 games in 2016. He played in 145 games in 2017. And he played in 134 games in 2019. That’s not exactly someone that comes off as “injury prone”, but maybe that’s just me.
Getting back to the topic at hand, though, I’m not sure that Morosi’s implication was that the Dodgers themselves were losing faith in Corey Seager. It feels like that’s just Morosi talking out loud about what he thinks. But what Nick Kirby’s tweet does bring up with Gavin Lux does have plenty of intrigue to it.
Gavin Lux is one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He’s already reached the Major Leagues – playing in 23 games this season with the Dodgers. He’s just 21-years-old. This season he hit .313/.375/.521 in Double-A in the first half. When he moved up to Triple-A he went off for Oklahoma City, hitting .392/.478/.719 in 49 games. Lux is a shortstop, though he did play some second base this year – and all of his games with the big league club did come at second base.
The Dodgers certainly could keep both Gavin Lux and Corey Seager. Enrique Hernandez got a majority of the playing time at second base – starting in 63 games there, and playing in a total of 85 games at the position. But they also played Max Muncy there a lot, too. He played just 79 fewer innings there than Hernandez did. While Hernandez was a below-average hitter, Max Muncy most certainly was not. Outside of Cody Bellinger, Muncy was probably their best hitter. And he’s under contract for several more years – he’s not even to arbitration yet.
That gives the Dodgers some flexibility when it comes to how they could shape their lineup. And if Jon Morosi is right, and Los Angeles does indeed need some pitching answers, perhaps this could lead to a trade of Corey Seager. The Dodgers could insert Gavin Lux at shortstop, and explore options with Max Muncy at first or second, and figure out who plays the other spot when he’s not there.
It would seem to take a lot to acquire a guy like Corey Seager. And it should. He’s a very good player. For the Reds it would be an enormous upgrade at a position of absolute need.For his career he’s hit .294/.362/.491. This season he posted a .272/.335/.483 line with a league best 44 doubles. He also hit 19 home runs, walked 44 times, and had 98 strikeouts in 541 plate appearances.
Perhaps they start with Raisel Iglesias to try and give the Dodgers bullpen some help and then see if adding in prospects could get the deal done. And it would probably take a top end prospect, too – not just some borderline Top 10 guy(s).
The Reds offense was quite bad in 2019. It must improve in order for them to get where they need to be. Adding a guy like Corey Seager would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction. But as with everything, the question that needs answering is does the cost of acquisition make sense? The price would be very high, and it would only be for two seasons of control.
But 2020 is a huge year for the Reds, who have said that the goal is to make the playoffs, not just take another step forward. Trevor Bauer is gone after 2020. Joey Votto’s going to be another year into “the decline phase“. The time is now to go for it. And if you can actually get things done it’s going to lead to more opportunities to go for it again. Corey Seager may not be the exact deal that makes sense depending on the price. But he’s exactly the type that the team needs to go for.