Corey Seager is still a Dodger. That’s a good thing. But his name has been rumored a bit in offseason trade rumors — first with Cleveland, then with the Red Sox and the latest connection is with the Reds.
Let’s be clear: None of the rumors have been terribly substantive. Seager’s name came up early on in the Francisco Lindor and Mookie Betts trade rumors. With neither of those likely to happen, the odds of him getting traded are slimmer than they were a few weeks ago (and they were never terribly high). The Reds interest in Seager does make a ton of sense even if it’s also not likely to amount to much. Freddy Galvis is currently penciled in as the starter and Cincy chose not to retain Jose Iglesias while also non-tendering former Dodger prospect Jose Peraza after a disappointing 2019 campaign.
Let me also be clear about something else: I don’t want the Dodgers to trade Corey Seager. Full stop. He’s 25 years old, led the National League in doubles in his first season back from Tommy John and hip surgeries, and still posted a 113 wRC+. As long as he stays healthy, it’s realistic to expect him to be even better in 2020. But with the chance of adding a Lindor or Kris Bryant, along with having Gavin Lux — a global Top 5 prospect — it meant the Dodgers could at least consider trading Seager if they added another bat to take his place. So in no way am I advocating for a Seager trade, but I could at least understand it if other things happened concurrently.
As it stands now, Seager is still penciled in as the starting shortstop. Lux would probably be in a utility-type role, splitting time among second base, shortstop and maybe left field. Max Muncy could play any of the non-shortstop positions, while Justin Turner would be strictly a corner infielder. As long as everyone is healthy, that’s a really strong infield.
Now, that isn’t going to stop me from coming up with some trade proposals, because this is the offseason, the Dodgers haven’t done much and it’s just fun to do. So, here they are.
This would be, in a word, incredible. Senzel was in a similar position last year as Lux. He was a Top 10 global prospect and is probably still a big part of the Reds’ future. He came up as a third baseman, has dabbled at second base and is slated to play some center field this season. The Reds did sign Shogo Akiyama, a legitimate center fielder, to a 3-year deal. It doesn’t mean the Reds would trade Senzel, but it at least makes it slightly more likely. Of course, the Reds could use him as the centerpiece in a Lindor deal, which would probably be better for them. But if they were willing to move Senzel to get Seager for at least the next two seasons and six years of Peters — they do need an outfielder — that’s something the Dodgers would have to consider. But as I have said repeatedly, the likelihood of this happening is very, very slim.
If the Reds trade for Seager, this seems like a more likely scenario. And seeing what the Dodgers and Reds did last winter with the Yasiel Puig trade, this would not only be more realistic for both teams and something that would interest the Dodgers. Peters would also give the Reds a strong outfield option. Mahle, 25, is coming off a solid season. That’s kinda hard to believe with his 5.14 ERA, but some of his peripherals are encouraging (17.1 K-BB%, 47 GB%, 3.99 xFIP). He’s not currently slated to be one of the Top 5 starters for Cincy, so they might be willing to move him to get Seager. India, 23, is the Reds’ top non-Hunter Greene prospect. He hasn’t fully broken out since being the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 draft, but with Eugenio Suarez signed long term (signed through 2024, with a team option for 2025), India might be “expendable” if the return is Seager. Siani, 20, is a lower-level guy who has a chance to be a solid center fielder and would help the Dodgers strengthen the outfield prospect depth chart.
And now things are going to get a little crazy.
OK, I know this is nuts, but just stay with me. The Reds would be getting the same two players as above, while their outgoing cost would change a bit. The Cubs would land a nice prospect trio that includes a Bryant replacement (India), a strong rotation guy (Santillan) and a high-upside shortstop prospect (Garcia). The Dodgers would land Bryant, as the Cubs are looking to shed salary. He’s going to make $18.5 million this season. Strumpf was the Cubs’ 2nd-rounder last year out of UCLA, and he seems like the type of prospect the Dodgers would target in a scenario like this. Now, this is probably less likely than even the Senzel trade above, but it’s fun to think about.
I love Corey Seager. He’s responsible for perhaps my favorite baseball moment ever. I’m also aware that he might not be in the Dodgers’ long-term plans. That could change depending on his performance the next season or two. But honestly, would it surprise you if they traded Seager at some point in the next 18 months? I’m not saying I want it to happen, I’m just saying it isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and so it’s worth thinking about the potential return.