I always like to keep an optimistic outlook, but prepare for the worst. Perhaps that’s what the Dodgers are doing with wonder kid Corey Seager’s latest oblique injury. The club has so many injuries from day-to-day that it can be hard to diagnose or determine timelines for return. Initially Seager’s injury was considered mild mid-back soreness. Now the Dodgers have reported that the injury is actually mild oblique tightness, which is far worse than just a sore back.
Seager is still not playing, however he is working out. The Dodgers are uncertain about when he will return, but time is running out for him to get enough at-bats to be ready for opening day. The start of the regular season is just a few weeks away and Seager has hardly played at all this spring.
The scarier thought is what the Dodgers do if Seager is not ready to go by opening day on April 3. What’s the backup plan here? The backup plan absolutely can’t be Mendoza line hitting Kike Hernandez who is just terrible at hitting baseballs. He’s equally terrible at playing shortstop as well, although he’s one of the few guys in camp who can man the position.
Manager Dave Roberts has told the media that he is unconcerned about it and that Seager will be back in action soon. I believe he said “there’s no panic”. Somehow that doesn’t comfort me. Maybe the Dodgers should start thinking about a backup plan in case he isn’t able to play when the season starts. Although I am sure they already are.
Obviously Kike can’t be the solution here. So who else can play shortstop? Chris Taylor started at the position on Saturday afternoon during the Dodger’s 8-2 victory over the Angels. Taylor was 2 for 2 on Saturday with a double and a triple. He’s having a great spring thus far, batting .421.
Taylor is an option, although his offensive track record (.234 .598 career BA, OPS) is less than stellar. Charlie Culberson is another option. I like him, but he’s not hitting much this spring. He’s batting .222 (6 for 27) this spring. But he hit .299 last year including his division clinching home run against Colorado. He’s a terrific defensive player, but despite my affinity for him I admit that he’s not much of a hitter either.
So who else can play shortstop? Utility man Rob Segedin has had a solid spring, but he can’t play shortstop. In fact he’s never played there in his entire professional career. Chase Utley has never played there either. Logan Forsythe has only played 19 career games at shortstop. I don’t see anyone else on the 40-man roster or in camp that can play shortstop. The only other option would be farmhand Darnell Sweeney who has played 199 minor league games at the position. This could be a big problem if Seager has to miss any significant time.
The Dodgers have to have someone on the roster that can backup Seager at shortstop anyways. It would seem that there are three choices; Hernandez, Culberson, or Chris Taylor. None of them are ideal. My pick is still Culberson for his superior defense. However Culberson is not on the 40-man roster.
Please get well soon Corey. Because if I have to watch Kike Hernandez on opening day I may become violently ill.