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Kyle Seager retired, go figure

Seattle Mariners v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kyle Seager’s retirement came as quite a surprise earlier today. He only turned 34 in November, and had most recently put up 2.5 fWAR (2.2/600). He was still projected for around 2 WAR for 2022.

Seager finishes his career with just 35 career fWAR. After his debut 201 PAs in 2011, he finished with 3.0 or more fWAR in seven of 10 seasons (one of which was 2020, where he was well on pace to clear that mark) and never finished with less than 1.5 fWAR (again, one of those seasons was 2020).

Fangraphs had him as the 30th-”best” free agent available this offseason and in line for another $25 million or so had he kept at it. This news probably helps Kris Bryant’s eventual market a bit, since Seager was the only third baseman projected for at least average production still unsigned (Chris Taylor already signed, as has Eduardo Escobar, who was close enough with a 1.8 WAR projection from Steamer).

Seager was kind of a proto-modern baseball guy, as he was never as extreme as the defense-and-dingers molds we’ve seen from some guys at this point, but still combined fine defense at an important position with ISOs hovering around .200. I’ll miss his presence from the MLB landscape for that reason among others, as seeing him in a game made for a fun contrast between the types of players-that-were and players-that-are. To wit, in 2014, Seager’s .186 ISO was second on his team and 57th in MLB (minimum 200 PAs). By 2018, Seager’s .178 ISO was fourth on his own team and 131st in MLB; a .186 mark would’ve still been well outside the top 100 at 115th. In 2021, 107 players posted an ISO over .200 in 200 or more PAs, 136 were above .186, and 153 were above .178.