As the Mariners season winds down over the next few weeks, is Kyle Seager the Mariners' answer at third base and is this his best shot at an every day gig in a Seattle uniform?
With Chone Figgins sidelined, Seager is getting the chance to prove if he has was it takes to play the hot corner. Right now it's hard not to root for the guy; however his solid performance in the minors between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma has yet to translate to much in the majors through roughly a dozen games.
Ideally the job should be his for the remainder of the season, and if he can put together a respectable showing he might have a shot at the starting job next year. If not, the window might be shut for good.
Before we fast forward to next April, let's assume two points:
1. Seager does manage to cobble together a decent performance from the bottom of the order for the remainder of the season. (If not, then he really does have his work cut out for him.)
2. GM Jack Zduriencik fails to unload Chone Figgins and his contract over the winter. (It's not out of the question to make a deal, but it would rank as one of the bigger surprises in all of baseball this upcoming offseason.)
How should the Mariners approach the situation in spring training next year?
Next year the right side of the infield should be set with Justin Smoak at first and Dustin Ackley at second. On the left side, Brendan Ryan will likely get the nod at short, but do the M's continue playing Figgins or go with Seager at third?
One would imagine that Figgins gets one more shot to redeem himself and that anything short of Seager being all-world for the month of March would either earn him a ticket back to Tacoma or on the M's bench in the dreaded utility role. Unfortunately for Seager as a pro, he projects more towards second base; however that position is taken by his former college teammate.
Meanwhile, if Figgins and the M's fail to improve early next season, how soon will fans demand to see if someone like prospect Francisco Martinez (acquired in the Doug Fister deal and currently parked at Double A Jackson)? Granted he's still only 20 years old and a bit raw, but Jack Z and Eric Wedge might be clinging to their jobs at that point and willing to gamble.
Should the Mariners try to trade Seager over the winter for needs elsewhere instead of holding on to him for too long? He still should have some value as a line-drive hitter with a short compact swing that would nicely fit at second base for somebody.
Ultimately it might be the best option for all parties in giving Seager a fresh start as another piece to Seattle's rebuilding plan.
Here's hoping he starts to make contact—either as the Mariners starting third baseman of the future or an asset the team can flip over in winter.