MLB

Mariners star Seager to miss at least eight weeks after hand surgery

By Sports Desk March 15, 2019

Seattle Mariners slugger Kyle Seager is expected to miss at least eight weeks of the new MLB season after undergoing hand surgery.

The 31-year-old third baseman underwent surgery on Tuesday on a tendon in his left hand.

Seager had initially been expected to be out until the end of April, but general manager Jerry Dipoto believes the timetable for his return will be more than eight weeks, with a return to games perhaps closer to 12 weeks.

"He won't be able to pick up a bat until the eighth week," Dipoto said of Seager.

"It's hard to believe we'll shut him down for two-plus months and he'll be able to hit MLB pitching in two weeks. So I suspect we're probably looking more toward 10 to 12 weeks."

Seager originally hurt his hand diving for a ball during a spring training game last week.

The Mariners have moved first baseman Ryon Healy to third, while rookie Dylan Moore will also see playing time there.

 

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  • MLB 2019 preview: Predicting the AL's division champs, pennant winner, award getters MLB 2019 preview: Predicting the AL's division champs, pennant winner, award getters

    The American League, in contrast to the National, is incredibly top heavy again in 2019.

    The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians are all capable of winning 100 games and the bottom teams in all three divisions are capable of losing 100 or more.

    But the playoffs should be absolutely fantastic, so you will have to take the good with the bad.

    Here are our predictions for how the AL will shake out in 2019.

     

    Central - Cleveland Indians

    Yes, Cleveland underachieved last year and, yes, Francisco Lindor is starting the season hurt, Jose Ramirez was bad down the stretch and you cannot name a single one of their outfielders, but the Indians are still really, really good.

    Their rotation had four starters who struck out 200 or more batters last year and they have every chance to do it again, while Lindor and Ramirez are still really good too. The bullpen is also likely to improve from last year's disaster.

    Cleveland should walk this division.

     

    East - New York Yankees

    The Yankees are already dealing with a lot of injuries as Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and Greg Bird are hurt, but the rotation is still good, the lineup is very good and the bullpen is transcendent.

    The Indians won 10 games less than they should have a year ago because of their bullpen while the Red Sox are in a similar spot this year.

    It got them through the postseason in 2018, but that was with massive help from Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Sale. Those men will not be in the pen during the regular season and it will cost them wins and the division.

     

    West - Houston Astros

    The Astros lost three starters from a year ago, but can you name the Astros' top two starters from 2017? Probably not. Can you name their bottom three? Without a doubt, no. But this year they still have Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole at the top and an accumulation of guys at the bottom.

    Verlander and Cole will win more than enough to carry the team to the deadline and Collin McHugh, Wade Miley and Brad Peacock will be more than passable to solidify the rotation.

    Reinforcements will also come in the form of Josh James, Forrest Whitley, Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas. The pitching will be more than fine, the bullpen is very good and the lineup got better with the addition of Michael Brantley. If Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer are simply slightly more healthy than they were a year ago, this team will definitely win 100 games and maybe even 105.

     

    Wildcards - Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners

    The Red Sox are an obvious pick here; the Seattle Mariners not so much.

    Here is the thinking: the Oakland Athletics are going to regress this year. They have one starting pitcher and, while everyone thinks they will succeed with bullpenning like they did last year, remember Sean Manaea was a staple in the rotation until August and Trevor Cahill and Edwin Jackson ate up some innings while combining to win 15 games.

    None of those guys are in the rotation this season and that will really hurt Oakland. The only other team that we think could slip in would be the Tampa Bay Rays, but they went through a lot of turnover.

    Seattle have solid pitching again and a lineup that works. While it may feel like recency bias as the Mariners just beat the A's twice in Japan, it is not. We really like this team and think they will dominate the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, using that to get back to the playoffs for the first time in what seems like an eternity.

     

    ALCS pick - Astros vs. Yankees

    A rematch of the 2017 ALCS, this series will all come down to who has home-field advantage. If the Yankees get it, they win. If the Astros get it, they do. We will take the Yankees to win the series for this reason and almost this reason alone: James Paxton is the Astros' kryptonite.

    Paxton is 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA in his career versus Houston and he will likely get two starts in an ALCS matchup between the two teams. Houston also cannot hit Luis Severino and, if the youngster comes back healthy after a spring training arm injury, that could be four wins between just those two pitchers.

    Four games wins an ALCS, so that is the pick.

     

    MVP - Mike Trout, Angels

    It feels like there was a lot of hand-wringing last season when Mike Trout did not win the award despite the Angels not making the playoffs. Assuming good health, Trout will have the best numbers of anyone in the AL - both with the eye test and by WAR - and he will earn his third career MVP.

     

    Cy Young Winner - Trevor Bauer, Indians

    If Bauer had been healthy throughout 2018, he would have won the AL Cy Young. He bested team-mate Corey Kluber in just about every single category and Kluber was a Cy Young finalist.

    There is no pitcher in MLB with better stuff than Bauer at the moment. His collection of fastball, curveball, slider and change is as good as gold and, when you see him pitch up close, you have no idea how anyone can touch him.

    If he stays healthy, he will win the award this year.

     

    Rookie of the Year - Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners

    This feels a little dodgy because Kikuchi is 27 years old, but it will be his first season in MLB and he will be in the rotation for Seattle from day one.

    He will post good numbers in a pitcher-friendly ballpark and earn a lot of wins in a division with bad teams like Texas and Los Angeles and terrible hitter's parks in Oakland and LA. But do not discount Houston for how bad their park can be to hit in as well. No one likes that batter's eye in center field and it hurts runs scored. 

    Kikuchi has very good stuff and is a mature pitcher, which should be enough to win him the award.

     

    Manager of the Year - Scott Servais, Mariners

    If the Mariners get back to the postseason for the first time since 2001, Servais will win the award. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

  • MLB 2019 preview: Predicting the NL's division champs, pennant winner, award getters MLB 2019 preview: Predicting the NL's division champs, pennant winner, award getters

    The National League is about as balanced as it has been in the last decade.

    The Central is stacked, the East got better and the West is far from decided.

    But even with the parity in the league we are going to give our predictions for all of this year's winners by division, pennant and awards.

    Here are those predictions.

     

    Central – Chicago Cubs

    Last year, the Cubs were the first team to be a disappointment that won 95 games.

    But this year everyone is coming back, Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish will likely be healthier and a lot of players (Ian Happ, Willson Contreras) got bad second years out of their systems.

    We are picking them to ride an underrated starting rotation to a division title this year as Milwaukee will likely take a slight step back and the St Louis Cardinals will take some wins away from the Brewers as well. The Cincinnati Reds will do the same thing as they got better too.

     

    East – Washington Nationals

    No team is better with the subtraction of Bryce Harper. That is ludicrous. However, the Nationals added Patrick Corbin, still have a fantastic rotation with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg and their lineup is solid from top to bottom.

    A bad season last year was an anomaly. This team is good. They will prove it this year.

     

    West – Colorado Rockies

    The Rockies will ride their pitching rotation to this year's division title.

    Between Kyle Freeland, German Marquez and Antonio Senzatela the Rockies have a powerful, young rotation that could guide them for years to come.

    And, they have the best third baseman in all of baseball in Nolan Arenado, added a steadying bat in the middle of the lineup in Daniel Murphy and David Dahl, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and Ian Desmond fill out a talented lineup. That is more than enough to win a division they lost in a one-game playoff to the ageing Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

     

    Wildcards – Los Angeles Dodgers, St Louis Cardinals

    This is as tough of a couple of picks as there could ever be because the argument can legitimately made that the Brewers, Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks and Dodgers could all earn one of the two wildcard spots.

    But our thinking here is simple: the Dodgers play in the weakest of the three divisions, and the Cardinals added Paul Goldschmidt. The Cards barely missed the playoffs last year, and if they add a pitcher at the deadline that could be the piece to push them over the top.

     

    NLCS pick – Cardinals vs. Rockies

    The Rockies learned a lot in their playoff run last season and will hit better in the playoffs this time around. St Louis will get a good second year from Jack Flaherty. Those two things will help them get to the NLCS and in that series Colorado will come away with the win to make it back to their first World Series since 2007.

     

    MVP – Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals

    Despite finishing amongst the top MVP candidates in the National League five of the last six years, Goldschmidt has somehow never won the MVP. A big reason for that is no one pays attention to the Diamondbacks – unfortunately – and many believe Chase Field inflates numbers for hitters.

    Goldschmidt will not have to worry about that this year as the Cardinals are always in the national spotlight and people will not hold his ballpark against him in St. Louis. He will produce there and people will realise he is not a product of a ballpark and then go check his numbers and see he had a higher batting average and more homers away from Arizona.

    All of that and a playoff berth for the Cardinals will give him his first MVP award.

     

    Cy Young Winner – Max Scherzer

    He had a legitimate argument to win the award last year even when Jacob deGrom had an all-time season. He will anchor the best rotation in the NL and win the award for the third time in the last four years and fourth time in his career.

     

    Rookie of the Year – Nick Senzel, Reds

    Nick Senzel has several things going for him: one, he is an incredibly talented player, two, the Reds added several good hitters to an already good lineup with Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp so he will have more protection when he is called up, and three, Great American Ballpark is a hitter's haven.

    The only question is how long it will take for Senzel to get to MLB. If he is on the team from the start of the year, .290 with 20 homers and 80 RBIs is not out of the question. That got Miguel Andujar serious consideration for a win in the AL last year. Senzel will get it if he gets there as well.

     

    Manager of the Year – Torey Lovullo, Diamondbacks

    The perception of the Diamondbacks is they will be bad this year after losing Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock. Losing a team's two best players is a recipe for regression. So any good success for Arizona will mean they will exceed expectations and that is how a manager wins Manager of the Year.

    The Diamondbacks are not bad despite the perception. Zack Greinke is good, as is Robbie Ray and Zack Godley. And the lineup is still pretty solid. If Arizona win 86 or 87 games and competes for a wildcard spot, Lovullo will be in the conversation for Manager of the Year.

  • MLB preview: Projecting AL West MLB preview: Projecting AL West

    In 2018, the Houston Astros dominated the American League West by stringing together a franchise-record 103 wins.

    The Oakland Athletics surprised nearly everyone with their best season in more than five years, the Seattle Mariners were in the playoff hunt while both the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers rounded out the division.

    This time around, expect Houston to win the division for the third consecutive time, a very rich Mike Trout to put his money where his bat is and emerging players to lead their respective teams this season.

    For an extended look at how things can shake out, here is your 2019 preview for the AL West.

     

    Storyline to watch: Will A's find their leader in Chapman?

    The third baseman could be his team's saving grace as it looks to build off a very good season last year. In fact, Matt Chapman could be a name in the AL MVP race if he backs up what he did in 2018.

    Chapman, who is only in his third season with the Athletics, is already a staple in the team's defense but more impressively, it was his offense that turned heads.

    He more than doubled his runs (100) and hits (152) from his rookie campaign in 2017 (that saw just 39 runs on 68 hits) and finished 2018 with a .278/.356/.508 slash line to lead Oakland. But, that is not all, manager Bob Melvin said: "The scary part is that there's a lot of room for growth."

    It has been a while since Oakland have had back-to-back winning seasons — the last time the A's put it together was 2012-14 — but if Chapman can get going early into the season, he could be just what this team need to do it again.  

     

    MVP candidate: Trout, Angels

    They do not give out record-breaking deals to just anyone, right? Trout agreed to a shocking 12-year contract worth nearly $430million and he is certainly worth it.

    The two-time AL MVP passed the 100-run mark for the fifth time in his career last season and if he can pull off another MVP-worthy year, he will be one of 11 players in history to have captured the award three times.

    Trout previously earned AL MVP honours in 2014 and 2016. The case could have been made for Trout to win the MVP award in multiple seasons but his team simply have not won enough to justify giving him the award.

    He has been one of the best players in baseball but still has yet to win a playoff game. Will this be the year for both another MVP win and a playoff-series victory?

     

    Cy Young candidate: Kikuchi, Mariners

    This one may be a bit out of left field, but, while Yusei Kikuchi does not have the resume to prove it just yet, a breakout season could put his name in the Cy Young conversation. He faced his first MLB hitter in the Mariners' second game in Japan and would be a good sleeper pick for the honours.

    Seattle already feature rotation staples Marco Gonzales, Wade Leblanc and Mike Leake but Kikuchi is unlike anything batters have seen and could be the Mariners' best pitcher when all is said and done. He can throw in the mid- to upper-90s from the left side and has earned comparisons to the likes of three-time National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw.

    Kikuchi debuted with three strikeouts to his name and could see similar success to countrymen like Hideo Nomo, Masahiro Tanaka and, of course, Shohei Ohtani.

     

    Prospect to watch: Adell, Angels

    He is not Trout, but honestly, he could be the Angels' second-best player if they decide to call him up this season.

    The 19-year-old outfielder made it all the way to Double-A last year, and if he proves he can handle the level over 50 games this season, he could see a call-up to Triple-A, or if Los Angeles are in the playoff race, he could see a more aggressive move and find his way to MLB.

    Gifted with plus power, great speed and an arm which was pumping 97-mph heat off the mound in high school, Adell's tool set and arrival date are incredibly similar to Trout's and he could be the man who gives the two-time MVP something to look forward to over the course of his 12-year deal.

     

    Division prediction: Astros win (again)

    Houston have been red hot the past couple of seasons and there is no reason the Astros should not come away with the division again. The last time this team three-peated was 1997-99.

    Despite the fact this team lost three of five pitchers from their starting rotation from a year ago, Houston return All-Star calibre players and a couple of Cy Young candidates in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. If the heart of the team's line-up is at full health to match the power of its bullpen, the Astros will be in a good position to once again run away with the title.

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