After Corey Seager won his second World Series MVP award, becoming only the fourth player to do so in both the American and National League, a good question that's been asked since Seager signed his 10 year deal with the Rangers resurfaced: Why did the Dodgers let him go?
A daring reporter asked just that during the Rangers' World Series press conference, and Seager had no answer. This makes sense; Seager was never going to poke at old wounds when he was literally in the middle of a celebration, and it was a little audacious and a little out of pocket for the reporter to ask a question Seager himself might not have a clear, or pretty, answer for in the first place. However, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman might have given us as close to a real answer as we're going to get.
Why did the Dodgers let Corey Seager go?
Friedman appeared on Dodger Nation's Youtube channel and briefly addressed the Seager issue. His response was a little cryptic and vague, as is most baseball-executive-speak, but we can glean a few things from it.
"I can't get into it too much, but there are players that have engaged earlier and have shown a real desire to be here that we've been aggressive and lined up and figured things out. I think it was important for him to go out and test free agency, which I respect.- Andrew Friedman
For us, we felt like we were aggressive and tried to make it happen -- didn't necessarily have the back and forth to try to get something done. But then we ended up with Freddie Freeman and distributing our talent in a little different way."
What Friedman's saying makes it sound like the Dodgers, who had both Seager and Trea Turner as shortstop options at the close of 2021, expressed some interest in keeping Seager but favored Turner, who eventually left the team in free agency anyway the year later, and focused most of their attention and money (Turner got $21 million in 2022 to avoid arbitration) on him. On the flip side, Friedman alludes to a desire on Seager's part to explore free agency rather than make staying in Los Angeles a priority.
No matter what happened between Seager, Friedman, and the Dodgers, LA's willingness to let him go instead of fighting to keep him is what led him straight to the Rangers on a 10 year, $325 million contract that, even with Seager missing some games in 2023 with injuries, paid dividends very quickly and will continue to do so.
Now, the Dodgers have shortstop issues while the Rangers are sitting pretty with a World Series MVP, 6.1 fWAR, 1.013 OPS shortstop. Let's all say it together: thank you, Andrew Friedman.