It seems like every year, Mariners fans cringe at Kyle Seager’s $18-19 million salary figure during the offseason, then we are pleasantly surprised by his consistent ability to produce quality at-bats in the middle of Seattle’s batting order, drive the ball to the gaps, and field the third base position at an above-average level.
So far this season, the story has been the same for Kyle Seager: entering Tuesday night’s matchup against the Dodgers, Seager is hitting .242 with 6 home runs and 24 RBIs, with the homers and RBI’s being good for second on the team behind standout outfielder Mitch Haniger. Also, Seager’s RBI total is second among third basemen in the entire MLB, trailing only Boston’s Rafael Devers. That type of production is game-changing when coming from a veteran player hitting in the middle of your lineup on a nightly basis.
The Mariners have the choice next offseason to either pay Kyle Seager $15 million in the final year of his contract, or let him walk as a free agent.
Listen, I don’t think Kyle Seager is worth $15 million per year (let alone the $18-19 million per year he’s made for the last 4 years). Although Kevin Mather is not allowed to say that, I’m allowed to say that. He’s 33 years old and he hasn’t hit above .250 since 2016.
However, the Mariners are in a position right now where they have plenty of salary cap space and their star prospects are still several years away from lucrative extensions. At the same time, the team needs a power bat in the middle of the order, a solid fielder at the hot corner to complement the Gold Glove tandem of J.P. Crawford and Evan White, and most importantly, a veteran leader on the field and in the clubhouse who can continue to model the way for a young, promising group of upcoming position players.
Sometimes, players earn the opportunity to earn more money than what their current on-field performance is worth, and other (mostly younger) players make less money than what they are currently worth. It’s just how the business goes. With Seattle employing multiple valuable players on low contracts, for the time being, the team can afford to keep around a future Mariners Hall-of-Famer to help boost a promising young squad towards playoff contention.