GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s sure to be one of the most talked about topics in baseball this year. But Corey Seager doesn’t want to talk about it at all.
The Dodgers’ 26-year-old shortstop can become a free agent next fall as part of one of the most talented positional groups to ever meet a free agency together. Along with Seager, Francisco Lindor of the New York Mets, Trevor Story of Colorado, Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs, Carlos Correa of Houston and Marcus Semien of Toronto could go on the open market.
Seager wouldn’t say if the Dodgers approached him about a contract extension that would rule out the possibility of leaving for another team next winter. In fact, he went a step further and said he didn’t want to discuss his contractual situation at all.
“I honestly don’t really want to talk about it,” Seager said when the subject was brought up on Zoom after training at Camelback Ranch on Thursday.
“Only free agency period. That’s not my focus. It was never about that. It’s always about showing up that day and doing whatever you can to help your team. I don’t want the extra effort to have to talk to the media about it. I just want to go out and do my job and drop the chips. ”
Lots of chips will almost certainly get in the way of Seager – regardless of which team delivers them. Only Lindor or Story can match Seager’s production in this shortstop group, and none of them can boast of winning both the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP in the same year Seager did last fall. A healthy and productive season for the Dodgers in 2021 would alleviate the only blow on Seager’s resume – a worrying medical history that includes a back injury, repeated hamstring injuries, as well as elbow reconstruction and hip replacement.
The Dodgers have poured more than $ 250 million into luxury tax territory with the signing of Trevor Bauer this off-season and the re-signing of Justin Turner. In addition to Seager, who is set to make $ 13.75 million this season, the Dodgers could also have Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Joe Kelly as freelance agents next winter, and will soon have to deal with Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler, who approach the free agency.
But Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president for baseball operations, said Team Seager would like to keep Seager in Dodger blue beyond this season.
“We never go into specific details on contractual matters that relate to free agents or even our own players,” Friedman said Thursday. “But I’ve talked repeatedly about what Corey Seager has meant to our club and how much we appreciate what he’s done on and off the field. We look forward to these contributions continuing in 2021, and I hope he will not make these contributions for the Dodgers last year. ”
Since Seager prefers not to discuss his upcoming freelance agency – a vow that is easy to keep with the media and only allows occasional Zoom access to individual players – Friedman said he was not concerned.
“I think the special thing about our group that we have had here for a few years is the ability to remove distractions and focus on the job at hand,” he said. “We have had a number of high profile future freelance agents over the years and it has never become a distraction and I don’t expect this to be any different this time around.”
Seager said he believes it will be harder for the media to ignore his contract status than it will be.
“Thats my job. This is what i do I like to do that, ”said Seager. “I like to show up. I like to get the job done. I like to go out and try to make your team win and that’s all I can control. Everything else is out of my control. ”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said left-hander Mike Kickham will start the Cactus League’s first game against Oakland A on Sunday. Kickham, 32, signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers and is in the camp as a non-squad participant. He made brief appearances with the San Francisco Giants in 2013 and 2014, and made six appearances with the Boston Red Sox last season, winning 1-1 with 7.71 ERA.
Roberts said catcher Austin Barnes, outfielder AJ Pollock and infielder / outfielder Chris Taylor will likely be on the grid on Sunday as well.
While Bauer held his first live hitting practice on Thursday, fellow pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May watched from behind the backstop.
But Roberts was in a different field and watched Jansen throwing hits, among other things.
“Kenley, I thought, was exceptional,” said Roberts. “Just life for fastball. The order was great. The fastball cut, the two-seater, the breaking ball – today everything was really on point. ”
Right-handed pitcher of relief, Joe Kelly, has resumed his throwing program after suffering an aching arm during the first week of camp.