Corey Seager is headed to the Texas Rangers. The former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop has agreed to a mammoth 10-year, $325 million deal, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
BREAKING: Star shortstop Corey Seager and the Texas Rangers are in agreement on a 10-year, $325 million deal, sources familiar with the situation tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
The deal contains a limited no-trade clause with no opt-outs, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
Seager's move to Arlington ends a tenure with the Dodgers going all the way back to the 2012 MLB draft, during which Seager earned a ring, World Series MVP honors, two All-Star selections, two Silver Slugger Awards and a Rookie of the Year Award.
Now, he'll join Marcus Semien in a middle infield of marquee free agent signings as the Rangers lead an AL West arms race. They just signed Semien on Sunday. The Seattle Mariners reportedly signed AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray less than an hour before the Seager news broke.
The contract will be the largest in Rangers history, significantly topping the market-shattering 10-year, $252 million contract the team gave Alex Rodriguez in 2001. By the math of the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant, the Rangers have already spent more money in a single offseason's free agency than any team in MLB history, thanks to the Seager and Semien deals plus starting pitcher Jon Gray's four-year deal.
The Rangers picked a rather interesting way to confirm the news.
Meanwhile, Seager's departure won't leave the Dodgers with an immediate vacancy at shortstop, as the team had already hedged against the possibility by acquiring Trea Turner at last season's trade deadline.
The Dodgers also tendered Seager a qualifying offer, so they will receive a draft pick after the fourth round of the 2022 MLB draft. Because the Rangers had already signed Semien, who also received a qualifying offer, they will lose their third-highest draft pick in addition to their second-highest.
The good with Corey Seager: Consistent, clutch hitting
Seager's Dodgers career went all the way back to the 2012 MLB draft, when the team selected him 18th overall out of high school in North Carolina. Soon, Seager was the consensus top prospect in baseball, ranked No. 1 overall by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline.
Seager fully delivered on the prospect hype with a Rookie of the Year win in 2016 after hitting .308/.365/.512 with 26 homers, and he hasn't stopped hitting since. He has yet to post an OPS below league average in a season, a steady presence near the top of the perennially contending Dodgers' lineup.
In the last two years, Seager has reached another gear, hitting .306/.381/.545 with 31 homers in 147 games. He established his clutch bona fides with a monster run in the 2020 postseason, becoming the eighth player in MLB history to win both World Series and Championship Series MVP honors.
Across four series in the pandemic-lengthened playoffs, he hit .328/.425/.746 with eight homers. The latter mark would have tied the MLB record for most homers in a postseason had Tampa Bay Rays star Randy Arozarena not hit 10 in the same period. All but one of those series was played at the Rangers' Globe Life Field.
Few players hit the market with Seager's combination of youth, production and playoff performance, especially at a premium position, and that was reflected in his price.
The bad with Corey Seager: Injuries have been a problem
So Seager has been productive at the plate. Unfortunately, getting him to the plate has sometimes been a problem.
Simply put, Seager is no stranger to injuries. He dealt with elbow and back injuries in 2017, missed most of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, sat out a month in 2019 with a hamstring injury and sat out two months in 2021 with a hand fracture.
In the five seasons since he won Rookie of the Year in 2016, Seager has played more than 100 games in a season only twice. He has been a hitter ranging from solid to excellent when he has been healthy, but this contract is also a bet that he is more a victim of some freak injuries than legitimately injury prone.
Seager has also been long expected to eventually make a move away from shortstop, as he is easily one of the biggest players at the position at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. The presence of Semien, who was playing a more than capable shortstop as recently as a couple years ago, could further complicate the situation.