Kyle Seager is an eight-year major league veteran with over 1,100 big league games under his belt, so the fact that he’s never been on the disabled list before is quite a feat. However, all good things must come to an end.
Seager will have surgery on Tuesday to repair a tendon in his left hand and will sidelined for at least the first month of the season. He was injured while diving for a ball on Friday.
“This will be the first time for me having to go on the DL and that’s something I was proud of,” Seager said. “It sucks. Anytime you don’t get to go out there with your teammates and your guys, it’s hard.”
While it seems that the hope is Seager returns sometime in May, the third baseman said that his doctor “really didn’t give too definitive a timeline,” adding that it will just depend on “how quickly I can get through” the rehab.
Seager is coming off an awful 2018 campaign that saw him bat just .221/.273/.400 with 22 home runs, and he wasn’t great in 2017, either (.249/.323/.450). As a result, he’s barely being drafted in standard 12-team leagues this spring, and this injury should push him off draft boards altogether in those formats.
The Mariners plan to stick Ryon Healy at third base to cover for Seager. It’s a huge downgrade, as Seager is a plus defender and Healy hasn’t really been viewed as anything more than an emergency option at the hot corner the last couple years. In fact, he didn’t even bring his third base glove to camp this spring and will have to borrow Seager’s. If Healy can’t hack it at third, the M’s might try to get by with Kristopher Negron and/or Dylan Moore there. They could also move Tim Beckham to the hot corner when they promote J.P. Crawford (Crawford hasn’t been optioned yet, but it’s expected).
Healy sliding across the diamond also frees up more at-bats at first base and designated hitter. Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce and Daniel Vogelbach have all played some first base this spring. Vogelbach would appear to be clearly third in line in the group and might benefit the most from the Seager injury if Seattle plans to use Encarnacion extensively at first base. Worth noting is that Encarnacion started at first base and Healy at third in the first two games after Seager was hurt.
With any of the aforementioned three at first base, Healy at third and Beckham at shortstop, the Mariners are likely to have poor-to-below average defenders at three of four infield positions for a while. Even Dee Gordon rated poorly at second base last season (although he’s been a plus there in the past). It’s not good news for the pitching staff, so keep that in mind before you use a draft pick on Marco Gonzales or Yusei Kikuchi.
Peacock Showing True Colors
The Astros’ fifth starter competition is beginning to look like not much of a competition at all.
Brad Peacock continued his stellar Grapefruit League showing Monday, hurling three scoreless innings in a win over the Mets. In eight frames this spring, Peacock has allowed just two unearned runs on four hits and a walk to go along with five strikeouts.
Of course, it wasn’t just Peacock’s performance that allowed him to further distance himself from the field competing for Houston’s No. 5 spot. Peacock’s main competition, lefty Framber Valdez, preceded the righty Monday and struggled again, permitting three runs on six hits and one walk in three innings. Valdez has now given up six runs on 13 hits and five walks across 9 1/3 frames during Grapefruit League play. He’s fanned only three batters.
Peacock was dominant out of the Astros’ bullpen last season, but don’t forget that he’s been awfully good when the club has used him as a starter, as well. In 21 starts in 2017, the 31-year-old put up a 3.22 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 135/46 K/BB ratio over 111 2/3 innings.
The Astros figure to want to stick Josh James (quad) in the rotation once he’s ready, and Dallas Keuchel falling back into the team’s lap at a discount is also a possibility. However, Peacock looks like a rotation lock as things stand right now, and he’s virtually free in fantasy drafts (current NFBC ADP of 346.61).
“Folty” Ruled Out
It may have seemed like a foregone conclusion at this point, but the Braves on Monday officially ruled Mike Foltynewicz out for Opening Day.
Folty has been battling soreness in his pitching elbow since his Grapefruit League debut back on February 24. While general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Monday that the right-hander is “feeling great and throwing,” he hasn’t thrown off a mound in over two weeks and thus needs to be built back up.
“We were just mapping out his throwing program this morning in terms of bullpens and live bullpens and all those types of things,” Anthopoulos said. “We’re just trying to figure out when do we get him up to five innings.”
The Braves are not ready to reveal when Foltynewicz will climb atop the bump again, but it doesn’t sound like it will be long if all goes well. He resumed playing catch a week ago.
Foltynewicz had a breakout season in 2018 when he held a 2.85 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 202/68 K/BB ratio across 183 innings. However, he already seemed like a regression candidate even before the elbow issue popped up, as he had a .252 BABIP after entering the year with a career .329 mark.
With Folty unavailable, the Opening Day duties are expected to fall to Julio Teheran, who would make his sixth straight Opening Day start. More importantly, it creates additional opportunities for some other intriguing Braves youngsters. Touki Toussaint, Max Fried and Kyle Wright were competing for the fifth spot in the rotation before Foltynewicz went down, but now there’s another opening (at least for a while).
Toussaint got off to a slow start this spring but threw four scoreless innings with four strikeouts Monday. He’s likely to break camp in the rotation. Wright had seemed ticketed for the minors but has put his best foot forward this spring with just two runs allowed and an 11/1 K/BB ratio over eight frames. Fried (3.68 ERA, 8/2 K/BB ratio over 7 1/3 innings) has also pitched well.
Quick Hits: Clayton Kershaw (shoulder) resumed throwing off a mound with a 20-pitch bullpen session on Monday. … The Diamondbacks officially announced the signing of Adam Jones to a one-year contract on Monday. … Ronald Acuna went 2-for-2 with a two-run homer and a walk on Monday against the Pirates. … Jack Flaherty whiffed five across four frames of one-run ball versus the Nationals on Monday. … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Monday that Corey Seager (elbow, hip) could play in the field in a minor league game by the end of the week. … Carlos Martinez (shoulder) is expected to resume playing catch in a couple days. … Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Monday that Mike Moustakas will be the team’s primary second baseman. … Zack Cozart (calf) said Monday that he's "100 percent" confident he'll be ready for Opening Day. … The Mariners optioned Justus Sheffield to Triple-A Tacoma on Monday. … The A’s optioned Daniel Mengden to Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday. … Jorge Soler launched a solo homer and added an RBI double Monday versus the Mariners. … The Rangers are expected to carry Hunter Pence on their Opening Day roster. … The Dodgers placed Andrew Toles on the restricted list. … Jhoulys Chacin worked 4 2/3 scoreless innings Monday in a Cactus League start against the White Sox. … Jason Vargas pitched four scoreless innings in his start against the Astros on Monday. … The Royals announced the signing of Martin Maldonado on Monday. … Kyle Gibson fanned four over three scoreless frames Monday. … Avisail Garcia clubbed his third home run of the spring on Monday. … Yoenis Cespedes (heels) began a throwing program Monday. … Marcell Ozuna (shoulder) made his first start in left field this spring on Monday.