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Though he can afford to sit out coronavirus-delayed season, Mariners' Kyle Seager embraces chance to play

Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times on

Published in Baseball

SEATTLE -- The decision couldn't be made in an instant or without some real thought and reflection. There needed to be discussion, even debate about what was best for his career and family.

Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager knew he could handle the financial hit if he opted to follow the lead of a handful of other established veteran players and sit out the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, essentially not taking a salary.

Seager, a husband and father of three young children, understood the risks of returning to his home near Seattle and participating in "Summer Camp" and a 60-game regular season amid the pandemic.

Besides the increased cases in Seattle, every city the Mariners are scheduled to visit in the regular season has seen major recent surges in confirmed cases.

This couldn't be just about him and what he wanted to do. And though he has loyalty to the team that drafted, developed and gave him a $100 million contract as a reward for his early success, Seager also has a responsibility to his wife Julie, his son Crue and daughters Audrey and Emelyn.

"That's real," he said. "It changes things with families, it changes things; you start thinking about something other than yourself. Those are those are real concerns. Julie and I talked about it, (and) we kind of weighed the pros and cons."

 

From his home in the woods of rural North Carolina where the nearest town is a 20-minute drive and COVID-19 was apparent only in newscasts and on the internet, he and Julie had to make a decision.

"We had quite a few discussions about whether if I do play, do they come to Seattle? Do they stay there?" Seager said. "How do the arrangements and everything work? Those were all legit discussions, and they're legit concerns. I know some guys are obviously going in a different direction, but you know it's something that everybody has certainly weighed."

Former teammates Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake, Dodgers All-Star lefty David Price, Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitching brothers Tyson and Joe Ross are among the players who have opted out of this season. But Seager reported to Seattle last weekend with his wife and kids, moving back into their house in Issaquah.

"We have a place up here, so it kind of made a little bit of sense for them," Seager said. "There's a little bit more space here, too, so the kids can have a little more freedom and room around to run inside the house and everything."

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