PEORIA, Ariz. -- In terms of clubhouse real estate, Kyle Seager inhabits an exclusive location.
The far end of the feather-shaped room comes to a point where an odd chair shaped like an egg cut in half sits against the back wall and a small couch sits facing the lockers reserved for Mariners players with the most major league tenure. It's away from the congested couches in the middle of the clubhouse, the path being worn to the showers and the entrance where media and non-baseball staff gather in the mornings.
It's a semiprivate oasis in the clubhouse chaos.
Robinson Cano assumed control of the area when the new clubhouse opened in his first year after signing a $240 million contract. Nelson Cruz took up residence two lockers down when he signed a year later. The duo ruled the area for the next four spring trainings, even allowing the moody Jean Segura to inhabit in their little fiefdom. Last spring, with Cano traded to the Mets and Cruz signed to the Twins, Felix Hernandez moved into the vacant spot for his final spring in Peoria.
Fittingly, that spot belongs to Seager -- the longest-tenured Mariners player on the roster.
He can only shake his head in disbelief at the notion.
"I always had Felix," he said. "I always had that crutch. I didn't get these questions. It was always, 'You are one of the longest,' but now with Felix being gone, that hurts me a little bit. It's definitely strange. It's humbling. I'm proud to be up here for about 91/2 years. The longevity of the situation is something I don't take lightly."
Seager was selected in the third round of the 2009 draft out of North Carolina. He made his Mariners debut July 7, 2011. He took over as their third baseman in 2012 and has remained there since, signing a seven-year, $100 million contract extension that runs through next season. He's played 1,261 games in a Mariners uniform.
He's been part of 100-loss teams and forgettable, mediocre teams. He's been part of multiple teams that fell achingly short of the postseason, and now he's part of a rebuilding plan, playing with kids who are at least five or six years younger than him.
"Yeah, it's completely different," he said. "It was different last year. You have to embrace the change. We understand the business aspect of it. If something's not working, you have to make changes and do what's best for the Mariners."