Most of the talk about former Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager this offseason centered around the (mostly-joking) notion that a team would sign him to lure his younger brother. But Corey Seager signed with the Rangers for 10 years and $325 million and Kyle remained a free agent up until Wednesday, when his wife tweeted out a brief note.
A note from my husband. pic.twitter.com/Zl5peB3vR2
— Julie Seager (@JulieSeager15) December 29, 2021
“Today I’m announcing my retirement from Major League Baseball,” the statement read. “Thank you to all of my family, friends and fas for following me throughout my career. It’s been a wonderful ride but I am unbelievably excited for the next chapter of my life.”
This comes as a bit of a surprise with the 34-year-old coming off of career highs of 35 homers and 101 RBI in his 11th season, all with the Mariners. His .212 average and .285 OBP were career lows, however, and Seager may have simply felt it was time to hang up his cleats rather than go through a frenzied free agency period once the lockout ends.
Some of that may have had to do with the idea of joining a new organization for the first time, as he was one of the exceedingly rare longtime professional athletes to have been with one team throughout his entire career. Drafted by Seattle in the third round (82nd overall) in 2009, Seager spent parts of three seasons in the minors before debuting in 2011. He hit at least 20 homers in each of his nine full seasons and finished with 242 for his career.
Despite that track record, the Mariners chose not to pick up Seager’s $20 million option as they look to move in a new direction. That money could be earmarked for a big-time addition, perhaps even a replacement at the hot corner, with Kris Bryant being mentioned by several people as a strong candidate.
Conversely, many outside observers had eyed Seager as a good fit for the Cubs because they really need more thunder from the left side. Though Seager clearly sold out for power this past season as his strikeout rate jumped north of 24%, his 18.1% rate would have improved the Cubs’ overall team mark of 26.7% a great deal. The idea of platooning him with Patrick Wisdom or serving as DH was attractive as well, particularly in the short term as Nelson Velazquez and others mature.
Alas, it appears as though that’s not going to happen. Unless, that is, Seager is simply as bummed about the lockout as the rest of us and will get the itch to play as soon as spring comes around and both the ground and the labor situation thaw.