Thursday Newsletter time: Corey Seager has done something in Arlington that Texas Rangers haven't.
The new shortstop won a World Series in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers during the COVID-19 postseason at Globe Life Field.
The Los Angeles Dodgers spent the better part of a month last year in the Metroplex, traveling between the quarantine of their hotel and Globe Life Field for playoff games during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major League Baseball moved the postseason to four different hubs following the first round, then two for the championship series and finally Globe Life Field for the World Series. Globe Life Field also hosted a National League Division Series and the NL Championship Series.
The Dodgers played in all three series, covering 16 games. Their last game clinched something the Texas Rangers don’t have — a World Series title.
New Rangers shortstop Corey Seager was the MVP of the NLCS and World Series, where the Dodgers beat Tampa Bay in six games to win their first World Series since 1988. He batted .350 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in the postseason, and also homered during a 2020 regular-season series.
He entered the 2021 season as the career leader in homers (eight) at Globe Life Field.
Granted, a full season hadn’t even been played there with the schedule shortened to 60 games in the inaugural season, but he hit more home runs in 16 games than any Rangers players could in 30.
“It was a fun time in my career,” Seager said. “We were seeing the ball right in that little stretch. The place is great. They built a beautiful stadium. They built a beautiful clubhouse. They thought of everything you can think of that you need to be able to perform that night.”
The Dodgers had home-field advantage throughout the postseason and spent every game in the home clubhouse. The amenities are among the best in baseball, arguably the best in the game.
Globe Life Field was going to be a major selling point to free agents, and all four signed since Sunday have played there. The final price tag on the ballpark with a retractable roof was $1.2 billion.
Aside from pumping up ticket sales during the summer, the roof and air conditioning are also part of what makes the ballpark so player-friendly.
“That’s inspiring,” said Seager, who signed a 10-year, $325 million contract. “It shows you the direction they want to go, that they’re all-in and ready to turn this organization around. That’s exciting.”
Semien at second
As Marcus Semien spoke about his excitement in joining the Rangers, he referred to himself as a middle infielder and talked of playing the middle infield.
As someone who has played shortstop and second base in his career, Semien could do both even with Seager coming aboard. Semien won the 2021 Gold Glove at second base with the Toronto Blue Jays.
But the Rangers, as is their way of doing business, hadn’t said nothin’ about nothin’ while sorting out the contract details and waiting for Semien to pass his physical exam. So, it needed to be clarified — which position in the middle infield will he be playing during his seven-year, $175 million contract?
“I think I’m playing second,” Semien said. “Last year, I felt great at second base. Obviously, defensively I was able to win a Gold Glove and swung the bat better. It's a place that I'm still learning, but I feel like I learned things really fast and I was able to execute them there with the coaching staff in Toronto.”
The Rangers discussed the possibility of playing Semien at shortstop, but ultimately decided to keep him at second because Seager has never played there.
Semien was a Gold Glove finalist in 2018 at shortstop while with the Oakland A’s. Seager is apparently open to the idea of switching positions if his defense declines later in his contract.
A busy week so far, and it’s only Thursday. Of course, with the lockout, it’s about to get very slow in baseball. We’ll keep cranking, though. Here’s what’s new at the Newsletter in case you missed it.
T.R.’s Memoirs: Rafael Palmeiro, Part I
News conference videos (subscribe to the channel for free)
He never saw it coming. Enjoy. See you Friday.