The hot stove season is slowly growing into a steady boil and for the most part, the Mariners and GM Jerry Dipoto have stuck to his word about it being slower than last winter. But why are fans obsessed with replacing one player?
Whenever you go 18-years between playoff appearances, fans are going to hard-pressed to trust that franchise. Mariners fans are no exception. And nor should they be. But in the angst of the longest postseason drought in North American sports, sometimes people spend entirely too much time worrying about things that aren’t an issue.
For the past 2 years or so, Mariners fans have turned their frustrations on the team to the longest-tenured player in the organization: Kyle Seager. And granted, Seager’s last 3 years have been a mixed bag. 2017 was a let down coming off his monster 2016. And in 2018, he was just plain bad.
But he rebounded nicely in 2019, posting .239/.321/.468 triple slash with 23 home runs and 19 doubles in just 106 games. Those numbers include the 6-week stretch coming off a wrist injury, where Seager was basically in a redo of Spring Training against big-league arms.
In his final 68 games, Seager hit .260/.339/.524 with 17 home runs, an All-Star level of production. All of this, along with his usual good defense at third, and Seager posted a 2.9 fWAR, a pace for a 4 win season with his usual 160 games played.
Seager changed his swing an approach entering last season and the early results are a net positive. But despite all of these factors, so many Mariners fans are desperately looking for a way to trade him or bring in his replacement. Why?
The most common answer seems to be “he’s not a $100 million player”. Aside from the fact that he has already given the Mariners more than $100 million worth of production, the point becomes, “why does that matter”?
And if he isn’t worth his salary, why would another team trade for that contract? They wouldn’t. But wait, I hear you saying, “well Seattle should just eat the salary”. What problem does that solve?
You still have his salary on your payroll, you got worse at third base, and now you have to spend money to get a replacement, all in a year where you aren’t going to make the playoffs anyway? Please, get real.
Kyle Seager is under contract for at least 2 more seasons and there is still a third-year team option. Seager is still a good enough player that finishing out his contract isn’t out of the realm of possibility either.
Seager can still be a valuable commodity for the Mariners. And for a fan base that spent the past 3-years bending over backward to protect the shell of his former self Felix Hernandez, this lack of loyalty to the longest-tenured offensive player is hypocritical, to say the least.
Sorry if it upsets you to hear this, but Kyle Seager is the greatest third baseman in franchise history, and still has the talent to make the gap even bigger. I suggest you get used to hearing this, because Kyle Seager is the third baseman now, tomorrow, Opening Day, and probably until his contract ends after 2021.