Mariners will likely keep Kyle Seager through the 2021 season
The Seattle Mariners are a rebuilding team with a great farm system but they are likely to keep veteran Kyle Seager through at least 2021.
Kyle Seager had a very Kyle Seager-y season for the Seattle Mariners in 2020. He played every game (except for 2019, Seager has managed to stay mostly healthy in his career), played a good third base, went through a hot streak at the plate or two but by the end of the year is slash line was .241/.355/.433. Yet Seager was overpaid.
But, Seager isn’t going anywhere any time soon, Mariners fans. His contract won’t let him. He is due to make $18 million in 2021 which is high for a player that isn’t going to change any team’s fortunes on whether that team makes or does not make the postseason. But if Seattle were to try to trade Seager, he would make bank in 2022.
Seager’s contract can be worked out three different ways
Option 1: Mariners keep Seager in 2021 and pay him $18 million then buy him out before 2022 and pay anywhere from $0 to $3 million to do so. This is the most likely option.
Option 2: Mariners keep Seager in 2021, pay him $18 million, then use a club option in 2022 and pay Seager $15 million. This is the second-most likely option.
Option 3: Mariners trade Seager before 2021. In this case, Seattle would likely have to eat most of Seager’s 2021 contract for a team to take him on. Then, even after the trade, Seager can exercise a player option to get $15 million from Seattle in 2022.
It simply doesn’t make financial sense for Seattle to trade Seager.
But here’s the thing. Seattle should keep Seager. Yes, he makes too much money for the production he has but he is also great in the clubhouse. He is a leader on a young team that is only going to get younger and teams like the Mariners need veterans too.
Plus, while Seattle needs to score more runs in general, Seager does supply good defense. He had a fielding percentage of .975 in 2020, his highest since 2014. The league average at third base was .959. Of any American League third baseman with 97 or more chances this year, Seager’s fielding percentage was fourth-best. Having a good third baseman is important for a young pitching staff.
Maybe Kyle Seager does get traded and Seattle eats a lot of salary for having traded him. But why not simply keep Seager and have him help a young team build into a contender? Sometimes, money isn’t everything.