Competent Internal Candidates
While Cavan Biggio struggled at third base this season, Santiago Espinal emerged as a possible candidate to take over the full-time third base role heading into next season. Even if Espinal struggles with an increased workload next year, the Blue Jays have some prospects or other players who could start to see some increased activity in the Major Leagues in Kevin Smith, Breyvic Valera, and potentially Jordan Groshans with Biggio there as a stopgap if necessary.
This move would be risky given the club would be hoping the young players are up to the task but something that at least Espinal appears ready for if he can start strong early next year.
Is the bat a concern?
Seager has shown us he can hit for power but his slash line and OPS are a bit of a concern. His past four seasons have seen him sport a batting average under .250 and he hasn’t posted an OPS over .800 since 2016, although he has come close in 2019 (.789) and 2020 (.780).
He also posted the worst strikeout percentage of his career last season at 24.0%, which is again alarming for someone on the other side of 30 years old. Considering the AL East has some tough opponent pitchers on almost every squad, a bat that is seeing an uptick in strikeouts should be cause for concern but is the power enough to justify the slash line?
Starting to Fade
Of the 1460 games he has played, Seager has spent 1427 of them at the hot corner, posting a 31 bDRS for his career. The lefty slugger has posted two consecutive seasons of -3 bDRS at third base, which could be a telling sign that his defensive ability is starting to fade.
Factor in that Espinal and Smith could potentially provide a better glove at third with a higher batting average at a fraction of the cost, it might be more worthwhile to let an internal prospect take the role.
Money Money Money
Considering he would be a free agent for the first time in his career, one would think that Seager’s numbers would still be potent enough to generate interest from around the league. He may not be worth the $20 million dollar option the Mariners would have to turn down for him to become eligible for the open market but Spotrac does give him a market value at $18.9 million dollars.
I personally think that value is a bit high but considering the third base market pales in comparison to the shortstops available this winter, teams could get into a bidding war for his services and potentially drive the price up if a club is looking for a veteran piece on the far left side of the diamond.
Seager would obviously be making more than Espinal, Biggio, or Smith this year so if the Blue Jays are looking to save some funds for other free agents or re-signing Ray, Semien, or Matz then passing on Seager frees up some money for those potential deals.