Corey Seager’s 2nd spring with Texas already ‘world of difference’

Texas Rangers v Miami Marlins - Game Two
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Within hours after Corey Seager was introduced by the Rangers with his $325 million, 10-year contract in December 2021, a lockout prevented him from contacting Texas for more than three months.

Following a late and rushed spring training, the Rangers never had a winning record while skidding to a 94-loss season.

“Not winning is always frustrating,” the All-Star shortstop said.

Texas hired a three-time World Series champion manager and revamped its starting rotation, and Seager was able to have a normal offseason. He has described coming into his second spring with the Rangers as “a world of difference.”

The Rangers held their first full-squad workout in Arizona on Monday. Seager arrived in camp over the weekend, no longer the new guy in the clubhouse.

Seager was in constant contact with the organization all offseason, including general manager Chris Young and new manager Bruce Bochy. The shortstop is getting to know the players who are now the newcomers. Among them two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, former All-Star right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and left-hander Andrew Heaney, all signed to multiyear contracts.

“It just makes everybody better, right? Like when you’ve got the five guys that we have, six guys, seven guys, really, that can go out there and start for us now, it’s that much more comforting,” Seager said even before getting to camp. “It’s more of the buy-in of expecting to win every night. You know there’s no excuses now with who were throwing out there on why we can’t at least expect to win.”

The Rangers introduced their half-billion dollar middle infield of Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien on Dec. 1, 2021, only hours before the lockout began Texas peaked at 24-24 at the end of May and finished with its sixth consecutive losing season.

“It’s probably one of the things I didn’t anticipate enough, is just the impact of an abbreviated spring training,” Young said. “Really a lot of changes and new personalities coming together all at once in the hope that we would get off to a hot start. It didn’t materialize and I think it took us time to really get used to each other, to understand just the locker room dynamics, the coaching dynamics. … We’re in a much better spot than we were last year.”

Seager said the biggest learning curve last spring was the aspect of everything being new for him. Then all the losses started piling up.

Seager spent his first seven big league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year. Los Angeles averaged about 99 wins a year during that time – not including the COVID-shortened 2020 season, when the Dodgers won a franchise-record 71.7% of their regular-season games and went on to win a World Series played entirely at the Rangers’ ballpark.

That makes Seager the only person on the 40-man roster in Texas who has been in a playoff game at Globe Life Field, the retractable roof stadium that was in its first year of use when the Dodgers played 16 of their postseason games there in 2020. They won the NL Division Series and NL Championship Series before a six-game win over Tampa Bay in the World Series, with Seager the MVP of both the World Series and NLCS.

Seager hit a career-low .245 overall last season,but had a career-high 33 homers in his debut season with Texas He hit 22 homers at home, where he batted .273.

Seager and the Rangers will be back home for the March 30 season opener against the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies.

“Last year was so accelerated with new faces, with new everything, too. Spring was tough last year trying to fit everything in a short amount of time,” Seager said. “I think it was just a bad recipe for trying to be prepared with a new team and new people, and stuff like that.”

MLB free agent watch: Ohtani leads possible 2023-24 class

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CHICAGO – The number will follow Shohei Ohtani until it is over. No, not Ohtani’s home runs or strikeouts or any of his magnificent numbers from the field. Nothing like that.

It’s all about how much. As in how much will his next contract be worth.

Ohtani is among several players going into their final seasons before they are eligible for free agency. There is still time for signatures and press conferences before opening day, but history shows a new contract becomes less likely once the real games begin.

There is no real precedent for placing a value on Ohtani’s remarkable skills, especially after baseball’s epic offseason spending spree. And that doesn’t factor in the potential business opportunities that go along with the majors’ only truly global star.

Ohtani hit .273 with 34 homers and 95 RBIs last season in his fifth year with the Los Angeles Angels. The 2021 AL MVP also went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts on the mound.

He prepared for this season by leading Japan to the World Baseball Classic championship, striking out fellow Angels star Mike Trout for the final out in a 3-2 victory over the United States in the final.

Ohtani, who turns 29 in July, could set multiple records with his next contract, likely in the neighborhood of a $45 million average annual value and quite possibly reaching $500 million in total.

If the Angels drop out of contention in the rough-and-tumble AL West, Ohtani likely becomes the top name on the trade market this summer. If the Angels are in the mix for the playoffs, the pressure builds on the team to get something done before possibly losing Ohtani in free agency for nothing more than a compensatory draft pick.

So yeah, definitely high stakes with Ohtani and the Angels.

Here is a closer look at five more players eligible for free agency after this season:


Nola, who turns 30 in June, went 11-13 with a 3.25 ERA in 32 starts for Philadelphia last year. He also had a career-best 235 strikeouts in 205 innings for the NL champions.

Nola was selected by the Phillies with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft. There were extension talks during spring training, but it didn’t work out.

“We are very open-minded to trying to sign him at the end of the season,” President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said. “We’re hopeful that he’ll remain a Phillie for a long time.”


Chapman hit 36 homers and drove in 91 runs for Oakland in 2019. He hasn’t been able to duplicate that production, but the three-time Gold Glover finished with 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 155 games last year in his first season with Toronto.

Chapman turns 30 on April 28. Long one of the game’s top fielding third basemen, he is represented by Scott Boras, who generally takes his clients to free agency.


Hernández was acquired in a November trade with Toronto. He hit .267 with 25 homers and 77 RBIs in his final year with the Blue Jays. He was terrific in 2021, batting .296 with 32 homers, 116 RBIs and a .870 OPS.

The change of scenery could help the 30-year-old Hernández set himself up for a big payday. He is a .357 hitter with three homers and seven RBIs in 16 games at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park.


The switch-hitting Happ is coming off perhaps his best big league season, setting career highs with a .271 batting average, 72 RBIs and 42 doubles in 158 games. He also won his first Gold Glove and made the NL All-Star team for the first time.

Chicago had struggled to re-sign its own players in recent years, but it agreed to a $35 million, three-year contract with infielder Nico Hoerner on Monday. The 28-year-old Happ, a first-round pick in the 2015 amateur draft, is on the executive subcommittee for the players’ union.


Urías, who turns 27 in August, likely will have plenty of suitors if he reaches free agency. He went 17-7 with an NL-low 2.16 ERA in 31 starts for the NL West champions in 2022, finishing third in NL Cy Young Award balloting. That’s after he went 20-3 with a 2.96 ERA in the previous season.

Urías also is a Boras client, but the Dodgers have one of the majors’ biggest payrolls. Los Angeles also could make a run at Ohtani, which could factor into its discussions with Urías’ camp.