Eager to go from Seager to Seager
By Cary Osborne
The Dodgers’ new third base coach and infield coordinator Chis Woodward has gone from Seager to Seager and in the transition, got some advance word from Seager on Seager.
Woodward spent the last three years in the Seattle Mariners organization and the last two full seasons on the Major League staff, coaching infielders both seasons and manning the first-base coach’s box in 2015 as well.
As anybody knows from Little League on up, the cardinal sin is for a coach to play favorites, but the hard-nosed former big-league infielder couldn’t help but take a liking to Kyle Seager, the Mariners’ All-Star third baseman and older brother of Dodger shortstop Corey Seager. Woodward knew from talking to Kyle that he’ll probably have a similar feeling about Corey.
“Kyle’s very humble, but he’s got a lot of confidence when he goes up there,” Woodward said. “Some guys are cocky, but then they’re hard to coach because they think they’re good enough. There’s so many dynamics to players, but Kyle was perfect in most ways. He said Corey’s the same way. Kyle said, ‘Corey’s the same way, but he’s better than I am.’ I said, ‘Wait a second. You’re a hundred million-dollar player who’s an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, and you’re saying he’s better than you? OK.’ He said, ‘I’m not lying.’”
Not that he needed a second opinion, but Woodward also talked to Dodger director of player development Gabe Kapler about Corey. Woodward and Kapler have a friendship that go back to their playing days, and Kapler offered another glowing take on Corey.
“Me and Gabe Kapler talked about it a couple of months ago,” Woodward said. “I asked him, ‘How’s Corey, because I know about Kyle?’ Kap said, ‘He’s an alien. I don’t understand this kid. I don’t understand how he plays the way he does. He’s so good.’”
So you can tell how eager Woodward is to work with and shape the 21-year-old Dodger. It turns out this is the sort of assignment the new Dodger coach has been looking forward to for years.
“I’m excited to go from one (Seager) to the other,” Woodward said. “I always told Kyle, ‘I wish you could play shortstop,’ because he processes information better than anyone I’ve ever seen. At third base, he uses so much information to get himself better anticipation. He made so many plays, and he’s not the fastest guy in the world, has an average arm, but won a (2014) Gold Glove because he’s courageous out there. At third base, there’s only so much info you can use. At shortstop, everything’s in front of you. You see every location. You can see the pitch going into the plate. And there are so many plays around shortstop. So I’m like, ‘I wish you would have been a shortstop because I can teach you so much more.’ Now that I’ve got his brother, I got my wish I guess.”