The Seattle Mariners, about to enter their next contention window, made a tough decision regarding one of their most beloved player’s future.
Kyle Seager, who has been with the organization ever since he made his MLB debut in 2011, at age 23, will hit free agency as the Mariners decided to decline his $20 million club option for 2022.
There was some controversy about the way the team informed the third baseman of the decision.
Mariners assistant general manager Justin Hollander reportedly notified Seager of the team’s decision via email.
However, it was later clarified that the team tried to contact the player and instead notified his reps at Jet Sports when attempts of getting in touch with him were unsuccessful.
Mariners sources say the email from Assistant GM Justin Hollander is a formality in the process of notification and that GM Jerry Dipoto tried to contact Seager on Wednesday and instead notified his reps at Jet Sports. https://t.co/fgkreYPrSx
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) October 31, 2021
Images of Seager receiving standing ovations from the Mariners’ fans will surely remain in his memory forever, as he is a very popular player both among fans and teammates.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 3, 2021
Now, instead of his $20 million salary, the player will receive a $2 million buyout and test the free agency waters.
A Mixed-Bag 2021
Performance-wise, it was a mixed 2021 for Seager.
He put career-highs in home runs and RBI, with 35 and 101, respectively.
However, he also had a career-low .212 batting average, and his lowest wRC+ mark in three years, with 99.
The wRC+ stat means weighted Runs Created Plus, and help us determine whether a player is above or below-average offensively, with 100 being considered average.
That means Seager was basically an average hitter, which is a problem since he is declining from a 119 wRC+ in 2020 and 111 in 2019.
Since he is 33, it’s fair to say that he may be starting to decline.
Seattle made an impressive run at the postseason, and Seager was a big part of that success.
They didn’t achieve the objective, but have a very good foundation for the future.
It remains to be seen if Seager is a part of that future.
For now, all we know is that he won’t return to Seattle under that $20 million one-year contract.
However, there is a tiny chance he will be back in Seattle at a much lower salary.
What’s Next For Seager?
Granted, no team will pay $15 or $20 million per season to have him on its roster, but if the price is considerably lower, it’s actually not that hard to envision a scenario in which he returns to Seattle if things were different or if there was a good relationship between the player and the organization.
However, that is highly unlikely to happen.
The relationship between Seager and the Mariners’ front office seems strained, cold, and distant; much different if we compare it to the relationship between Seager and fans.
At one point in recent weeks, Seager said he hadn’t spoken to Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto in “probably four years.”
It remains to be seen what the next steps for the third baseman will be.
While slightly declining, it’s clear he can still be of use for an MLB team.
For his career, he has a .251/.321/.442 slash line with 242 homers and 807 RBIs across 11 seasons, all with the Mariners.
He earned an All-Star berth and won a Gold Glove in 2014.