Corey Seager, back from injury, says Trea Turner trade makes Dodgers 'a better team'

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The Diamondbacks' Nick Ahmed steals second base ahead of Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager's tag during the fourth inning.
The Diamondbacks' Nick Ahmed steals second base ahead of Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager's fourth-inning tag. Seager made his long-awaited return from the injured list. (Norm Hall / Getty Images)

Corey Seager is consistent in his evasiveness. The Dodgers shortstop refused to discuss his impending free agency this spring, and if he had any feelings about how Friday’s trade for All-Star shortstop Trea Turner would impact his future with the club, he wasn’t about to share them with the class.

“To be honest, it’s not something that you really think about,” Seager said before going two for five in making his long-awaited return from the injured list in the Dodgers' 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday night.

“You’re just excited to add guys like that, whether they’re pitchers or position players. When you can add elite talent like we did, it helps you. It makes you a better team.”

The Dodgers completed a blockbuster deal to acquire pitcher Max Scherzer and Turner from Washington before Friday’s trade deadline, sending four minor leaguers to the Nationals for a pair of players who should greatly enhance their chances of winning their ninth straight National League West title and second straight World Series championship.

In Scherzer, who is in the final year of a seven-year, $210-million contract, the Dodgers get a three-time Cy Young Award winner who helped the Nationals win the 2019 World Series and is 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts this season.

The 37-year-old right-hander gives the Dodgers another ace to pair with Walker Buehler while bolstering a thin rotation that lost Dustin May to season-ending elbow surgery in early May, Trevor Bauer to a domestic-violence investigation in late June and Clayton Kershaw to an elbow injury in early July.

When Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young winner, returns next week, the Dodgers will sport a rotation of Buehler, Scherzer, Kershaw, Julio Urías and either David Price or Tony Gonsolin, who was knocked out of Friday night’s game in a second inning in which he walked five and gave up a two-run double to Josh VanMeter.

Scherzer will make his Dodgers debut against the Houston Astros at Chavez Ravine on Wednesday night.

“Max has done it all in this game,” said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations. “He’s on the Mt. Rushmore of pitchers in terms of what he’s done in the regular season, what he’s done in the playoffs, and adding him to our rotation creates lot of depth and options that we feel are going to be important the help navigate the rest of this season.”

The speedy Turner, 28, is batting .322 with an .890 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 18 homers and 49 RBIs in 96 games this season.

He has a career .300 batting average, .842 OPS and 192 stolen bases and has been worth seven wins above replacement over the last two years according to FanGraphs, trailing only San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. among position players.

“He’s very dynamic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “There’s nothing on a baseball field he can’t do. He can beat you in so many ways. He’s on a short list of guys who can beat you with all the different tools, the arm, the glove, the power, the speed. There’s not many guys who play a premium position who can do that.”

The Dodgers have a shortstop with a similar skill set — minus the blazing speed — in Seager, the reigning NL Championship Series and World Series most valuable player who hit .265 with a .783 OPS, four homers and 22 RBIs in 37 games this season before fracturing his right hand May 15.

The trade for Turner puts Seager’s future with the Dodgers in doubt. Turner, who is making $13 million this season, is under club control through 2022, and would be a premier replacement at shortstop if the Dodgers allow Seager to leave as a free agent.

As for the rest of this season, “I’d like to play shortstop,” Seager said. “That’s not really my decision. That’s their decision. I want to play shortstop, but we’ll see where it goes.” Roberts won’t have to make those decisions until Turner returns from a stint on the COVID-19 injury list, which he began Thursday.

Trea Turner runs the bases for the Nationals during a game against the San Diego Padres on July 18, 2021.
Trea Turner runs the bases for the Nationals on July 18. The Dodgers' trade Friday for the versatile Turner puts Corey Seager's future with the team in doubt. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Turner came up as a center fielder and can play second base, so he has much more versatility than Seager. He could be more of a regular second baseman, platoon with the slumping Cody Bellinger in center and spell Seager at short. He could hit at the top or bottom of the order.

“Doc will have fun trying to figure out where to slot him in the lineup,” Friedman said of Turner. “But the length he creates in our lineup, the foot speed he adds, is something we’ve kind of been lacking the last five, six, seven years.”

While Scherzer is expected to join the team Saturday, Turner can’t join the Dodgers until he completes mandatory quarantine and tests negative for the coronavirus multiple times.

“I’m gonna talk to him and figure out where the best fit for him and our club is,” Roberts said. “Right now, he’s a Dodger, Corey is a Dodger, it’s about winning, and we’ll put the pieces together.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.