Blue Jays: One third base option is no longer available
This offseason, the Blue Jays needed to address a few different areas on the roster especially with a few key players from the 2021 squad heading to free agency. The rotation needed a player or two with Steven Matz and Robbie Ray hitting the open market (and now not returning), the bullpen could use another arm or two, and third base is a bit of a question mark heading into next season.
With Cavan Biggio beginning the 2021 campaign as the club’s third baseman, by the end of the year, seven different players suited up at the hot corner for the Blue Jays. Biggio hit the injured list on numerous occasions while Santiago Espinal carried a large portion of the load mixed in with Breyvic Valera, Joe Panik, Jake Lamb, and Kevin Smith taking the odd turn at the position.
While the club could let Espinal try and carry the load at the hot corner next year, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to possibly find a third baseman on either the open market or via trade, especially since the club is in the prime stages of contending for a World Series over the next few seasons. Fans will be quick to point out potential trade targets like Jose Ramirez and Matt Chapman, one free agent who checked off quite a few boxes is no longer available, even during the lockout.
With Kyle Seager retiring, the Blue Jays now have one less option for improving the hot corner this offseason and may need to trade if they want to upgrade.
Announced by his wife Julie on Twitter, Kyle Seager has elected to retire after spending 11 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, the same club that drafted him in the third round back in 2009. Considering the source is pretty credible, it appears Seager will finish his Major League career playing for only one organization while crafting a .251/.321/.442 slash line with 242 home runs, 807 RBI, and a .763 OPS. Looking at the Mariners franchise leaderboards, Seager sits fourth in home runs, games played (1480), and hits (1395), as well as fifth in runs scored (705).
Seager became a free agent this winter after the Mariners decided to not exercise his $20 million dollar club option and appeared to be one of the more prominent third base options this offseason alongside Kris Bryant and Eduardo Escobar. For Blue Jays fans, the North Carolina product checked off a few different boxes that could have been beneficial for the club in 2022 but with some associated risk.
For starters, he was a veteran third baseman with over 1427 games at the position with a 31 bDRS through his 11-year career. While he has slowly regressed on the defensive side of the ball (-3 bDRS in 2020 and 2021), he still has the experience that provides a bit more consistency and stability compared to the internal options on the Jays roster. Arguably, the only one with a better defensive game on the current roster is Espinal, who could be utilized elsewhere if the club was to sign Seager before he retired.
Another reason is that Seager is a power bat that hits from the left side, an area that is missing on the Blue Jays current lineup. The only left-handed bats heading into 2022 are Cavan Biggio and Reese McGuire (who may not be on the team next year) and adding Seager, who cranked out 35 home runs and 101 RBI last year, creates some more pop in an already dangerous lineup. His batting average is a bit further down the charts compared to the likes of Bo Bichette or Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but it’s hard to beat adding a left-handed bat that has some power amongst the current batting order at the hitter-friendly confines of the Rogers Centre.
While he did check off a few boxes in regards to what the Blue Jays are needing heading into next season, it appeared that he was slowly starting to fade in a few different statistical categories and a long-term deal could have been a risky endeavor. His 2021 campaign was one that he would probably like to forget but a short-term contract with the Blue Jays for next season could have been a low-risk addition that could have benefited both parties. Another “prove it” deal like the club did with Ray and Marcus Semien last year.
While it wasn’t a given that Seager would have even considered coming to Toronto, with another option off the board when it comes to third base, the front office may start diverting more attention towards Cleveland or Oakland if they truly want to improve the left side of the field once a new CBA is in place.
Regardless of what the Blue Jays do this winter, congratulations are in order for Seager and a toast to his storied career as a Mariner!