MLB: Breaking down Jean Segura to the Phillies

An all-star shortstop is heading to Philadelphia and it isn’t the man that many have speculated.

The Seattle Mariners traded Jean Segura, James Pazos, and Juan Nicasio on Monday to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford.

The transaction is just one of several that the Mariners have made this off-season as a part of the fire sale that has already seen them move James Paxton, Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, and Mike Zunino.

The trade is the tale of two teams at drastically different stages in growth. Despite an 89 win season in 2018, the Mariners finished third in a crowded AL West, signaling at least to the front office that they were closer to the basement of the division rather than the ceiling.

The Phillies took baseball by storm in 2018 and showed that after years of rebuilding they were ready to contend. However, the 2018 season may have just been a year too early as they finished 80-82, good enough for third in the NL East and only 8 games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves.

Philadelphia Phillies

For the Philadelphia Phillies, this trade fills two holes they had entering 2019. The most glaring need being that at shortstop which had been a revolving door during the 2018 season. The lack of production from the position forced the Phillies to seek midseason help which included the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera from the New York Mets which ultimately didn’t pan out.

Prior to the trade, the Phillies were set to have a combination of Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford at short heading into the 2019 season. The two combined for 11 home runs and 47 RBI’s with an average of .220.

Segura, a career .287 hitter put together a .304 average to go along with 10 home runs, 63 RBI’s and 20 stolen bases. The 28-year-old’s 2018 season was good enough to earn him his second all-star bid, but upon closer examination, the numbers tell a different story.

From the beginning of the season to July 1, he hit .336 with a .841 OPS, 23 doubles, six homers, and 45 RBIs in 77 games. From July 1 to the end of the season, he hit .264 with a .652 OPS, six doubles, a triple, four homers, and 18 RBIs in 67 games.

The second hole being filled is an example of addition by subtraction. The loss of Carlos Santana will hurt offensively as the 32-year-old was an anchor in a young Phillies lineup in his lone season with the team. The loss of Santana does clear up the logjam at first base and allows for Rhys Hoskins to return to first base and opens up an outfield spot for a possible free-agent signing (cough *Bryce Harper* cough).

Speaking of possible free-agent signings, this deal shouldn’t necessarily rule the Phillies out on the Manny Machado sweepstakes. Machado would be an upgrade over Segura but it can’t be ruled out that the 26-year-old would shift back to third base for the right price. A tandem of Segura and Machado on the left side of the infield would be good enough to compete with any duo in the league on both sides of the ball. This gives the Phillies flexibility to move Maikel Franco to first base (creating another logjam) or trading him for another piece.

Not to be forgotten in the deal is the acquisition of pitchers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos. Nicasio had a brief stint with Philadelphia (2 games) in 2017, a season that saw him earn a two-year deal with the Mariners. In his lone season in Seattle, the career journeyman had an era of 6 as he looks to earn a place in the Phillies bullpen. Perhaps overlooked in this deal is left-hander James Pazos. The 4-year veteran had a career-best 2.88 era in 50 innings pitched and can be a valuable asset for a Phillies team looking to contend.

Seattle Mariners

What is there to say about this deal for the Mariners other than they are cutting costs. The trade of Segura comes after he signed a $70 million extension nearly a year ago, a move at the time looked like the Mariners were going all in on this team. By trading away Segura the Mariners get his $58 million remaining off the books while just for good measure throwing in Nicasio’s $9 million. In return, the Mariners are taking on Santana’s $35 million contracts and Crawford who is still on his rookie deal. While this deal isn’t exactly attractive to the fans of the Mariners, it is a great move by Jerry Dipoto.

He may not be as swift on the basepaths as Segura, but Santana should be welcomed in Seattle as an anchor in the middle of their lineup as someone they can confidently slot in the DH role each and every day. As for the acquisition of Crawford, the Mariners are buying low on a former top prospect. While he has not lived up to the hype he earned as the Phillies shortstop of the future, Crawford is still only 23-years-old and will have time to play and develop in the middle of the Seattle infield.

In what is only one of many moves that have occurred this off-season and the promise of more to come.  The Mariners should be commended to fully welcome the rebuild and not half-ass it like many organizations in the same spot have done so frequently in the past.

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