Back in early October we wrote about Corey Seager and whether or not the Cincinnati Reds should go after the Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop. Jon Morosi of MLB Network and Fox Sports noted at the time that the Dodgers may not know exactly what to expect from Seager given what Morosi called “a lot of injuries” and questioned whether he would fulfill the projection we’ve seen in him to get better. This came off as speculation on Morosi’s part rather than something he had been hearing from within the Los Angeles organization.
As the offseason progressed there were rumors that Corey Seager could possibly be had in trade, though it has felt as if there was more speculation than actual truth to his being available. The Dodgers have Gavin Lux ready to come up to the Majors, which in theory could mean that Seager could be moved. But there hasn’t really been much talk about that happening beyond speculation that it could happen, not the Dodgers actually discussing it as a possibility.
Since the beginning of the offseason the Reds have been rumored to be talking with the Cleveland Indians about Francisco Lindor. Several weeks ago there were rumors that Cleveland had asked teams to submit their “best offer”. All that we’ve heard since that point in time is that Cleveland expects Lindor to be their shortstop in 2020. Perhaps they are playing hard ball in all negotiations, but it’s been two weeks plus since the reported “best offer” ultimatum was asked for and he hasn’t been traded. That certainly suggests he’s not going anywhere unless someone is willing to up their “best offer”.
This morning, though, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic noted that the Cincinnati Reds have been interested in Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager all offseason. That makes sense. Of course the Reds should be interested in Corey Seager – as should nearly every team in baseball. He’s an All-Star caliber shortstop who has the bat to slide to any other position on the field and play just fine. But the Reds have clearly been in the market to try and make a substantial upgrade, too. They had gone after Yasmani Grandal, though they came up short on that one. Cincinnati came up shy while going after Zack Wheeler, too. They went out and picked up Mike Moustakas and all of the power in his bat for second base. And of course, if the rumors are to be believed, they also have been chasing Francisco Lindor all offseason.
As the team is currently constructed, Freddy Galvis would be the shortstop for the majority of the 2020 season. There’s nothing wrong there – Galvis has been roughly a league average player over the last two seasons. He’s a below-average hitter, but as noted on Wednesday – he’s one of the best defenders in the game.
Corey Seager, on the other hand, is an All-Star caliber player with an MVP kind of upside. For his career, the 25-year-old has hit .294/.362/.491 – good for an OPS+ of 126. He’s already had three different seasons in which had had at least 4 WAR. Galvis’ best season was in 2018 when he had 2.3 WAR. Seager would be a significant upgrade to Cincinnati’s roster. And he’d be more than a rental, too – his contract runs through the 2021 season before he’d reach free agency.
Much like discussions around acquiring Francisco Lindor – it’s not going to come cheap. While Corey Seager isn’t quite as good as Lindor is, he’s close. And when it comes to salary, he’ll make less – by a lot – than Lindor. MLB Trade Rumors projects Seager to get $7.1M in arbitration in 2020. That’s less than half of what Lindor is projected to land. And short of something crazy happening for both players in 2020, Seager will make a lot less in 2021, too. Perhaps saving $15-20M in cash over the next two seasons would bring the trade value of the two players to an equal level.
The Dodgers and Reds have a recent history of being able to figure out any and every possible trade on the planet, so maybe they can figure something out once again that satisfies both clubs. But if a deal gets done, expect the price to be high.