Mariners Continue To Sell, Trade Segura To Phillies
The Phillies are gearing up for a run at the postseason, while the Mariners are continuing their teardown in pursuit of a rebuild.
The Phillies acquired All-Star shortstop Jean Segura, lefthander James Pazos and righthander Juan Nicasio from the Mariners on Monday evening, sending back shortstop J.P. Crawford and first baseman Carlos Santana.
There is significant money moving in the deal. Segura is owed $60 million through 2022, while Nicasio is due $9.3 million in 2019. Santana has about $41 million remaining on the final two years of his deal, meaning the Mariners are shedding roughly $28 million from their payroll.
J.P. Crawford, SS
The Phillies' first-round pick in 2013 and long-declared shortstop of the future, Crawford ranked as the No. 16 prospect in baseball entering 2017 but struggled through an injury-riddled rookie season. He played in just 49 games, hit .214/.319/.393 and deferred to Scott Kingery at shortstop when healthy at the end of the season. Crawford is a smooth fielder who showed an average, accurate arm in the minors, but he committed eight errors in 30 games at shortstop last season—all throwing—giving him the sixth-most errors among MLB shortstops despite playing less than a fifth of the season there. At the plate, Crawford controls the strike zone and has a sharp eye, but he lacks impact in his bat and struggles to cover the outer half of the plate. Crawford will still be just 24 years old on Opening Day and has time to make improvements. With the Mariners rebuilding, he'll have every chance to work through his mistakes.
Carlos Santana, 1B
Santana signed a three-year, $60 million contract before last season to be the Phillies' first baseman, but Rhys Hoskins’ inability to play left field necessitated a move to his natural first base and made Santana a trade piece. Santana’s offensive production has declined each of the last two years, but he’s still an above-average offensive player overall. He had 24 homers and 86 RBIs last year while getting on-base at a .352 clip, helping make up for a career-low .229 batting average. Santana moonlighted at third base and in right field in recent years, but he’s strictly a first baseman/designated hitter. In addition to the $41 million due the next two years, Santana also has a $17.5 million team option (with a $500,000) buyout for 2021.
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Jean Segura, SS
The Phillies’ shortstop issues were massive both offensively and defensively last season, and Segura represents an upgrade on both fronts. The 2018 All-Star has hit above .300 with double-digit home runs three straight years, the only ML shortstop to do so. He’s an above-average defender at shortstop, and his presence allows the Phillies to move Kingery back to his natural second base and pursue Manny Machado to play third base, where he is better. Segura is signed through 2022 with a team option for 2023, giving the Phillies a long-term solution in the infield.
Juan Nicasio, RHP
Nicasio returns to Philadelphia, where he pitched in two games for the Phillies in 2017. The righthander is coming off his worst season as a professional with a 6.00 ERA, but he still notched 53 strikeouts against just five walks in 42 innings. Nicasio lost over one mph on his average fastball velocity, dropping from 95.3 in 2017 to 93.9 mph in 2018, and thus became much more hittable. His hits allowed per nine innings jumped to 11.4 from 7.4. The Phillies will hope a change of scenery can help. He is signed through 2019 and then will be a free agent.
James Pazos, LHP
The mustachioed Pazos was quietly one of the more effective lefthanded relievers in baseball last season, posting a 2.88 ERA over 50 innings. He was a reverse-splits pitcher last season who was actually more effective against righties (.604 OPS) than lefties (.800 OPS), but over the course of his career he’s about even. Pazos comes at hitters with his mid-90s sinker more than 90 percent of the time, and his upper-70s slider is a swing-and-miss secondary when he throws it. With that arsenal, he induces a steady diet of ground balls. Pazos fits into the Phillies' bullpen in mid-to-late relief. He won’t be a free agent until 2023.