The Milwaukee Brewers have been busy this off season but still have a few holes to fill. We take a look at filling one of those gaps today by acquiring third baseman Kyle Seager from the Seattle Mariners.
Piecing together a winning team has been GM David Stearns specialty since coming to the Brewers. Since the start of the 2016 season the team is 344-305, with three winning seasons and two playoff appearances.
The Brewers currently have a huge hole at the hot corner after the departures of Mike Moustakas and Travis Shaw. Lucas Erceg is the lone third baseman on the 40-man roster,but he comes with no major league experience. The team could slide newly acquired short stop Luis Urias to third but he will more than likely compete for the short stop position. The free agent market is drying up, minus Josh Donaldson, who will have a high asking price at age 34.
So trading for a third baseman could be the answer. One name out there that is available is former all-Star Kyle Seager from the Seattle Mariners.
What does Seager bring?
Seager, a career .256/.324/.443 hitter, has been starting at third base in Seattle since 2012. His best season to date was 2014 when he made his only All-Star appearance.
Seager has also been consistent with his power numbers through his whole career averaging 24 home runs a season since taking over as the starter, which is better than Moustakas. He averages roughly 82 RBIs and 72 runs. Both are better than what Moustakas has averaged.
In 2016 Seager had a career season hitting .278/.359/.499 with 30 homers and 99 RBIs. His 69-walk and 108-strikeout split was also the best of his career. 2016 was also the last time Seager was on a competitive team as the Mariners have had three consecutive seasons of sub-.500 baseball.
Seager also more than capable on defense and won a Gold Glove in 2014. His career .966 fielding percentage is fantastic for the hot corner.
The downside to Seager
First, his contract could be a stumbling block. Seager is owed $19 million this season and $18 million in 2021. He also has a club option that turns into a player option if traded. The option is for $15 million in 2022. That is a lot of money for the Brewers to wrap themselves up in moving forward knowing that the team priority will be to sign Christian Yelich long term.
Second, Seager hasn’t been great the last two seasons, hitting just .228/.293/.427 in 261 games. A lot of this could be that the Mariners have been playing in a tough American League West and the team is rebuilding, so Seager is being sat more for younger players to get their chances.
Third, his BB:K ratio is 82/224 which is well below the former third baseman in Milwaukee.
What would a deal look like?
To make this deal happen, we messaged our friends at SoDo Mojo to see what they thought a deal could look like:
Brewers get Kyle Seager
Mariners get Branden Webb and Carlos Rodriguez
The Mariners have three players over the age of 30 and play in a division that has been owned by Houston. Oakland is always competitive. Texas just got Corey Kluber. Los Angeles now has Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon for the next seven years anchoring their line-up. Seattle has been in rebuild mode for a while and will be in one of the toughest divisions in baseball for the next few seasons.
Carlos Rodriguez is an exciting 19 year old outfield prospect with plus speed and defensive skills already. He rose quickly through the prospect list and is currently 19th in the Brewers system. He also has the makings of being an excellent hitter.
Rodriguez hit .329/.346/.416 with the Rocky Mountain Vibes last season. He had 50 hits in 36 games and showed that he has potential to be a solid hitter with his short compact swing.
Braden Webb is the 18th overall prospect in the organization and has good life to his fastball, curveball and an above average or better split-change. He is projected to be a starter, but with other right handed starters similar in age (24) and skill set in the organization ahead of him, so he is log jammed in the minors.
What is the sticking point?
The part of the deal that is bigger than the players exchanged is the salary relief.
The Mariners have about $90 million in salary committed for 2020, Seager takes up about 23% of the team’s payroll and is not in the team’s future plans. The Brewers, who have close to $75 million committed already, would prefer not to take the remaining $37 million of the remaining balance and potentially a third year making it $52 million.
Seager would be asked to agree to waving his player option if traded back to a club option and the Brewers would want some of the salary to be eaten by the Mariners.
Could this deal get done?
Stearns and Jerry Dipoto have made deals before, so they have a working relationship and understand the plight of salary cap restraints and being in a tough division.
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It makes sense for both sides, short term the Brewers get an all-star third baseman and left handed bat they can plug in to their line up now. The Mariners get future salary relief and a pair of young players. Seager gets a fresh start with a new team, and could benefit from getting out of the pop fly heaven known as T-Mobile Park.