March 14: Seager will miss 10 to 12 weeks following the procedure, general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters (link via Johns). He won’t swing a bat for the next eight weeks and isn’t likely to return to the field before June.
March 11: Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is slated to undergo surgery to repair an injured tendon in his left hand, MLB.com’s Greg Johns was among those to report (Twitter links). He’s expected to be sidelined for all of April, at least, with a precise timeline as yet unknown.
Seager had been preparing for what he hoped to be a bounceback season at the plate. Now, the 31-year-old will need to overcome a physical obstacle before he has a chance to show that his forgettable 2018 season was just a down year.
Durability has never been an issue for Seager, who has never been placed on the disabled list during his eight-year MLB career. He will be among the first players to go on the newly-dubbed injured list, however, and will therefore fall shy of 154 games played for the first time since his first full season in the majors back in 2012.
Seager had also always been an above-average big league hitter until running into trouble last year. He ended the season with an ugly .221/.273/.400 slash and 22 home runs in 630 plate appearances — a far cry from the .263/.332/.447 line he carried entering the season.
There were some indications that poor fortune played a role in that decline. Seager carried a career-low .251 BABIP despite what Statcast categorized as a 39.6% hard contact rate. His .288 wOBA lagged his .306 xwOBA, though that still fell well shy of his prior levels.
Worryingly, Seager also saw changes in his plate discipline. He struck out at a career-high 21.9% rate while walking at a career-low 6.0% clip. On the bright side, Seager’s power was down from his prior four seasons, though his .178 isolated power mark wasn’t too far off of his .183 career rate.
There were also mixed signals defensively. Seager continued to receive quality grades from Ultimate Zone Rating for his glovework. The opposite was true of the Defensive Runs Saved system, which has swung wildly and not seen eye to eye with UZR on Seager over the years.
Ryon Healy will step in at the hot corner for the meantime, per skipper Scott Servais (also via Johns, on Twitter). Missing out on a month or more of Seager’s contributions represents less-than-promising news for the M’s, though the club has already made clear it doesn’t expect to push for a postseason spot this year. With $56MM committed to Seager over the next three seasons, the Seattle organization will be concerned mostly with his ability to regain his form with the bat once he is back at full health.