Dodgers lose Corey Seager for the rest of the season after Tommy John surgery

Tommy John surgery’s latest victim is not someone you would normally expect. Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Corey Seager is expected to miss all of 2018 due to the surgery, the team announced Monday.

Seager has been dealing with the issue since late 2017, but the team believed rest and recovery during the offseason would be enough to heal the injury.

How big of a blow is this?

The injury should have a significant impact on the Dodgers moving forward. Seager wasn’t off to a strong start, hitting just .267/.348/.396 to start the year, but he’s been one of the team’s best hitters — and he’s made the All-Star team the past two seasons.

Utility man Chris Taylor should be Seager’s replacement for now. He turned in a breakout season in 2017, hitting .288/.354/.496, with 21 home runs, over 568 plate appearances. He’s off to a slow start in 2018, hitting just .233/.273/.425. Even if Taylor can still capture last year’s magic, he’s won’t produce at the same level as Seager.

Where else might the Dodgers turn?

Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado seems to the be the popular choice. Everyone anticipates the Orioles will deal the 25-year-old before the end of the season. He’s in the final year of his contract, and Baltimore is not considered a threat to re-sign him. Machado is also off to a tremendous start, hitting .361/.448/.676 over his first 125 plate appearances.

It’s not that easy, though. Machado is one of the best players in baseball, and it’s going to cost the Dodgers a pretty penny to pry him away from Baltimore. We’re talking multiple prospects — at least one of whom has to be close to elite.

38 PHOTOS
MLB players who will make over $20 million in 2018
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MLB players who will make over $20 million in 2018

35. Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon

2018 Salary: $20 million

(Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

35. Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin

2018 Salary: $20 million

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

35. Texas Rangers right fielder Shin-Soo Choo

2018 Salary: $20 million

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

35. Toronto Blue Jays Shortstop Troy Tulowitski

2018 Salary: $20 million

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

31. Chicago White Sox starting pitcher James Shields

2018 Salary: $21 million

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

31. Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey

2018 Salary: $21 million

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

31. San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto

2018 Salary: $21 million

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

31. Kansas City Royals first basemen Eric Hosmer

2018 Salary: $21 million

(Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports)

30. Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello

2018 Salary: $21,125,000

(Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

29. New York Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury

2018 Salary: $21,142,857

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

28. Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis

2018 Salary: $21,169,326

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

27. Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman

2018 Salary: $21,359,375

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

26. Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Matt Kemp

2018 Salary: $21.5 million

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

24. Colorado Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond

2018 Salary: $22 million

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

24. New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka

2018 Salary: $22 million

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

23. Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer

2018 Salary: $22,142,857

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

22. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey

2018 Salary: $22,177,778

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

21. New York Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez

2018 Salary: $22,357,142

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

20. Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels

2018 Salary: $22.5 million

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

19. Boston Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez

2018 Salary: $22,750,000

(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

17. Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson

2018 Salary: $23 million

(Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

17. Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer

2018 Salary: $23 million

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

15. Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman

2018 Salary: $24 million

(Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)

15. Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano

2018 Salary: $24 million

(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

12. Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Yu Darvish

2018 Salary: $25 million

(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

12. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto

2018 Salary: $25 million

(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

12. New York Yankees right fielder Giancarlo Stanton

2018 Salary: $25 million

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

11. Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez

2018 Salary: $25,875,143

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

10. Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward

2018 Salary: $26,055,288

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

9. Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols

2018 Salary: $27 million

(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

8. Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester

2018 Salary: $27.5 million

(Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports)

7. Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander

2018 Salary: $28 million

(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

6. New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes

2018 Salary: $29 million

(Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters)

4. Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price 

2018 Salary: $30 million

(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

4. Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera

2018 Salary: $30 million

(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

3. Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke

2018 Salary: $31,954,483

(Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

2. Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw

2018 Salary: $33,228,939

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

1. Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout

2018 Salary: $34,083,333

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

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What is Tommy John surgery?

The procedure is one of the most infamous surgeries a pitcher can have these days. It occurs with the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the elbow is injured. Doctors will replace that injured ligament with a healthy replacement — sometimes from that person’s body. The surgery was first performed on — you guessed it — a pitcher named Tommy John. You can read Jeff Passan’s “The Arm” for a highly in-depth breakdown of the procedure.

While Tommy John surgery is typically reserved for pitchers, position players can also have the procedure. New York Yankees infield prospect Gleyber Torres missed most of 2017 with a similar injury in the minors.

The recovery from pitchers is thought to be anywhere between 12 to 18 months. For position players, recovery is thought to be shorter — mostly because they don’t have to throw as much. It’s not as if the Dodgers can use Seager as a designated hitter when he returns, so they may opt to be cautious with him until they are sure he can make the throw from short regularly without pain.

Why did the Seager wait until now to have surgery?

The team believed rest and recovery may have been all Seager needed. The 24-year-old Seager has dealt with the injury on and off since late in 2017. In September, it was reported Seager was not throwing at 100 percent due to the injury. He managed to avoid surgery in the offseason, instead opting to rehab the injury.

Seager got a late start in camp in February due to the issue, but said the injury was behind him. The team planned to slowly ease him into spring training to make sure that was the case.

Obviously, that wasn’t the case, and now Seager will miss all of 2018. While that’s a big blow, the team felt it was worth the risk for Seager to try and let rest cure the issue. Some pitchers — like Masahiro Tanaka and Ervin Santana — have been able to pitch for multiple years with partially torn UCLs. Surgery isn’t always the best option immediately.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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