Mariners call up surging Kyle Seager

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It looks like Chone Figgins is about to start spending a lot more time on the bench.

The Mariners announced after Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to the Mariners that they’re promoting 2009 third-round pick Kyle Seager to the majors.  The University of North Carolina product had been on an absolute tear in his two weeks in Triple-A, hitting .455/.500/.673 in 55 at-bats.

Before that, Seager hit .312/.381/.459 in Double-A to begin the season.  He came in at .345/.419/.503 last year, but that was at High Desert in the California League, one of the five best offensive environments in the minors.  As a result, Seager wasn’t taken very seriously as a top prospect entering the season.  He’s earned his chance by keeping it going at higher levels, though.

Seager was primarily a second baseman in the minors, and the Mariners left him there in Double-A this year even though they had their No. 1 propsect, Dustin Ackley, ready to take over at that position in the majors.  Recently, Seager had been playing a lot more third base, and he figures to see most of his starts there in the majors.  It’s possible he may yet end up at second base if the Mariners decide Ackley would be better off in the outfield.

Figgins becomes the odd man out.  He’s hitting just .183/.231/.244 in the second year of a four-year, $36 million contract.  The Mariners only hope of moving him is to take another bad contract in return, and those kinds of deals are usually easier to pull off over the winter than during the season.

Getting dropped to make room for Seager on the roster was catcher Jose Yepez.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.