3 Reasons Why the Yankees Should Target Corey Seager for 2022:
In my piece yesterday, I discussed why Corey Seager may not be a good option for the New York Yankees come 2022. However, I’d be wrong if I didn’t say that my interest was piqued when I really started to look into and consider the Yankees with Seager. So, today, let’s rebut myself!
Reason 1: The Performance and Prime Years
Corey Seager broke into the big leagues at 22-years-old back in 2016 en route to an All-Star Game appearance, a Silver Slugger, winning the NL Rookie of the Year, and placing 3rd in the NL MVP voting. This wasn’t incredibly surprising, however, as going into that year Seager was the consensus #1 MLB prospect by Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and Baseball Prospectus. He proved them all right.
That following year in 2017 he earned his 2nd Silver Slugger and made it back to the All-Star game as the league started to adapt to him. Then came the Tommy John surgery in 2018.
Now, it would be wrong to completely discredit his performance from 2018 (TJS) and 2019 (recovery year), but even with these years pulling his overall metrics down we get the following offensive picture of the shortstop:
.295/.362/.500 (.863 OPS), 129 OPS+/130 wRC+, 88 Home Runs, 307 RBI’s, +95.6 Off, +30.1 Def, +17.8 bWAR/+20.1 fWAR
Considering that this is across the greater part of 3 seasons, two small stints (2015 and 2018), and this past shortened season, Seager is a near average 4.5 to 5 WAR player (depending on who you look at) with potential of going above 6/7 b/fWAR. Plus, that was all done in his early to mid-twenties. As he continues to progress and move further away from his injuries, he should see much better consistency.
The traditional player has a peak that typically is hit near the age-30 cut-off. Seager will be a free agent going into his age-28 season which means the Yankees would be able to buy-in to likely get 4 to 5 years (age 28 to age 32) of solid performance. He also ranks #1 according to the Washington Post in projected performance after free agency across the classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Reason 2: Corey Seager Would Add New Flavor to the Line-Up:
One argument that Yankees fans like to rebut is the idea that this current line-up needs left-handed hitters. The go-to claim is that the Yankees current bats like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton actually hit right-handed arms better than left-handed arms, thus a left-handed hitter is unimportant. And, while this holds merit, the idea isn’t just about statistics.
As Yogi Berra said himself, “90% of the game is half-mental”. There is an element of baseball wherein having a line-up constantly go from a right-handed hitter to a left-handed hitter favors the offense. It makes using the bullpen a harder decision (especially with the silly 3-batter minimum rule) as they lose good match-ups and it means the pitcher constantly has to consider new styles of pitching. (Currently the Yankees big bats like Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez all have very similar approaches so an opposing pitcher can set-up easier for them all coming in a row.)
Corey Seager, while also adding the left-handedness that is greatly helped from the construction and dimensions of Yankee Stadium, also has a different approach than the Judge/Stanton crowd. Like DJ LeMahieu, he does not sell-out for power and is instead a solid contact-first, extra-base hit player. Being able to intersperse him into the line-up makes life a lot more difficult for an opposing pitching staff.
Deception and variance are vital things that the Yankees miss out on. Seager would provide it.
Reason 3: Capitalize on the Trade Market!
One big thing I pointed to yesterday was that the Yankees have a filled infield and bringing in a dedicated shortstop would mean that the Yankees would find themselves in an interesting situation with potentially needing to trade one of: Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, or Luke Voit or having to use a guy making $15 Million AAV in DJ LeMahieu as a utility player. Instead, I- like many Yankees fans- would rather see them capitalize on pitching beyond Gerrit Cole.
However, the problem arises that the talent of good 2022 free agent starting pitchers looks to be a crop of veteran aces in their late-30’s and the tail-ends of their careers (Verlander, Greinke, Scherzer) or moderate good arms with injury problems (Syndergaard, Carlos Martinez, Jon Gray). Now, don’t get me wrong, I always want the Yankees to get the best players, but it would make sense for them to be a little weary when looking at the starting pitching market.
So, why not then capitalize on a strength? While I will also be against trading Gleyber Torres (unless for a Cy Young caliber pitcher), it would make more sense to send cost-controlled players who have high value (Luke Voit [FA 2025] or Gio Urshela [FA 2024]) to a team that can trade pitching.
Consider an infield with Corey Seager and Gleyber Torres at shortstop and second base respectively. Imagine that with a rotation where Gerrit Cole has the support of an Aaron Nola or Luis Castillo behind him. Now, that’d be a solid core and something I’d sign up for in a heartbeat.
Article By: Ethan Semendinger
Date Published: March 24th, 2021