Corey Seager joins Rangers on 10-year, $325-million deal; is Clayton Kershaw next?
The Dodgers’ pivotal offseason took two turns for the worse Monday.
First, Max Scherzer chose the New York Mets in the morning. Hours later, Corey Seager, another star free agent, opted not to return to Los Angeles. The shortstop instead agreed to sign a 10-year, $325-million contract with the suddenly free-spending Texas Rangers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Seager’s deal includes a limited no-trade clause but no opt-outs. He joins a club that has committed $556 million to three players over the last two days. On Monday, the Rangers gave infielder Marcus Semien $175 million over seven years after a resurgent 2021 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. They then signed right-hander Jon Gray to a four-year, $56-million deal.
Max Scherzer will not return to the Dodgers for the 2022 season. He has agreed to a three-year, $130-million contract with the New York Mets.
It’s a historic spending spree for a club coming off a 60-win, last-place season — and it might not be over. The Rangers are also in the hunt for Clayton Kershaw, who grew up minutes from Globe Life Field and lives in Dallas during the offseason. Kershaw, a free agent for the first time in his Hall of Fame career, is expected to choose between Texas and the Dodgers.
Seager, 27, will reunite with Rangers manager Chris Woodward, who served as Dodgers third base coach from 2016 through 2018. He’ll also join several former Dodgers players the Rangers have picked up since Woodward took the helm in 2019, including Dennis Santana, Josh Sborz, DJ Peters, Billy McKinney and Zach Reks.
For Seager, this offseason represented the first time he could secure a major payday by Major League Baseball standards. He’ll now play his home games where he enjoyed his greatest success as a major leaguer during the 2020 postseason when he was named NLCS and World Series MVP in leading the Dodgers to the championship in Arlington, Texas, to complete the pandemic-shortened campaign.
When healthy, Seager is one of the premier hitters in the majors. He batted .297 with 104 home runs and an .870 on-base-plus-slugging percentage at a premium position in his seven seasons in Los Angeles. He was named the 2016 National League Rookie of the Year. He’s a two-time All-Star.
But staying on the field has been a problem. He reached 100 games played in three of his five complete 162-game seasons. This season, he was limited to 95 games after missing more than two months with a fractured right hand followed by a hamstring injury he suffered during rehab.
The injury Max Muncy suffered on the last day of the regular season was worse than the Dodgers initially said. Muncy said he tore an elbow ligament.
The 6-foot-4 Seager also regressed defensively in 2021 — particularly fielding groundballs with his backhand. He’ll likely play shortstop for the Rangers — Semien will play second base — but he’s expected to have to shift to third base within the next few seasons.
The Dodgers, as it stands, will shift Trea Turner from second base to shortstop and have Gavin Lux play second base. They could also re-sign Chris Taylor to play second, but Taylor is garnering considerable attention in free agency that could also make him difficult to keep.
That solution may just be for one season: Turner, acquired with Scherzer from the Washington Nationals in July, will be a free agent next winter.
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