The elephant in the room was touched on immediately in Corey Seager’s first video chat with Dodgers media this spring. The star shortstop doesn’t have a contract after the season.
After posting an MVP-worthy regular season in 2020, and earning MVP honors in both the NLCS and World Series, Seager is on the fast track to a big payday next winter. As long as he can stay healthy. On Thursday, the 26-year-old made it known that his focus is on the 2021 season and nothing contract related.
I don’t really want to talk about that … That’s not my focus, it’s never been about that. It’s always about showing up that day and doing what you can to help your team.
Much has been made about the upcoming free agent class, particularly at the shortstop position. Seager will hit the open market along with several other premier shortstops, including Francisco Lindor and Javy Baez. So, with Corey not ready or willing to talk shop when it comes to a contract extension this season, the Dodgers may have to be ready to bid on one of the top available free agents once again next offseason.
Among the many upcoming wrenches in the plans for LA is the expiration of MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement in December. Without an agreement in place, player movement may be even slower than what we just experienced this past winter. Additionally, the club will also see its two longest-tenured players — Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen — enter free agency along with Seager, certainly giving Andrew Friedman some grueling work ahead.
While all that may be a distraction for the team, Corey Seager emphasized that none of it will be a distraction for him. At least if all goes the way he hopes.
I don’t want to talk free agency period … I don’t want the extra effort to have to talk about that … It’s harder to keep it off [the media] — I can only control playing the game … Personally it won’t be a distraction.
The primary focus for the 2020 World Series champ will be staying healthy in 2021 and the team trying to run it back in October. Stay healthy and the contract stuff will figure itself out — all in all, the right mindset to have.