Is Kyle Seager Worth $100 Million?
Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is used to playing in a corner.
After all, he plays a corner infield position for a team located in a corner of the country that doesn't get a lot of eyeballs on it. Seager is one of the game's best-kept secrets, but that may no longer be the case now.
Seager and the Mariners agreed on a massive seven-year, $100 million contract on Monday. And the dude is worth every penny.
This marks the third straight year Seattle has signed a player to a contract of at least $100 million, following their mega deals with second baseman Robinson Cano last year and their contract extension with ace starter Felix Hernandez the year before.
Both of those commitments have gone pretty darn well so far, so why not try for the hat trick, right Seattle?
He's also joining a nice little club here.
Players w/$100M deal by first arb-eligible season: Kyle Seager, Mike Trout, Buster Posey and Freddie Freeman pic.twitter.com/2222dB81M6— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 24, 2014
Seager is not a household name, but he is one of the better all-around players in the American League. He made his first All-Star team last year and won his first Gold Glove. And more than that, he's been remarkably consistent throughout his career.
Look at the progression of those numbers over his first three seasons in the Majors. In almost every category, Seager has improved each and every year. His nERD of 1.34 was 54th among all MLB players - meaning a lineup full of Seagers would score 1.34 runs a game more than a lineup full of league average players.
Keep in mind that Seager plays in the worst park for offensive players in all of baseball. According to ESPN's Park Factors for 2014, Safeco Field ranked 30th out of 30 ballparks in terms of overall offensive production, although they were 12th in the average home runs hit per game. In any other park, Seager's offensive numbers are likely much gaudier.
Nevertheless, they were still excellent. His weighted runs created (wRC+) of 126, weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .346 and fWAR of 5.5 were all third-best among American League third basemen this year. And that 5.5 fWAR was eighth-highest among all American League position players.
His defense is outstanding as well. Last year, he ranked third among all third basemen in Defensive Runs saved with 10, and his Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) was also third-best among all players at the hot corner.
If you are going to give a long-term contract to a player in the $100 million range, Kyle Seager is pretty much the very definition of who you'd want to give it to.
He's durable, having played in at least 155 games the last three years. His offensive numbers have improved each and every year, virtually across the board. And his defense is among the best in the game.
When you've got a rock-steady, healthy, cornerstone player in your midst, you do everything you can to keep that player on your roster for the prime of his career. For Seager, that is exactly what the Mariners have done. They've locked up their third $100 million player this off-season.
And like the previous two, the chances are better than good that their investment in this one will pay off too.