The Mariners just finished trading Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets, but the club doesn’t appear to be done. Jerry Dipoto is never done. Ken Rosenthal has reported that shortstop Jean Segura could be the next Mariner to move, with the Phillies engaged as the trade partner. Former top-10 prospect J.P. Crawford is potentially part of the return. Bob Nightengale reported a deal had been agreed to involving at least those two players, while Jon Morosi indicated the deal was complete pending physicals, with Segura expected to waive his no-trade clause. And Bob Nightengale has further reported that Carlos Santana will join Crawford in Seattle, with other major leaguers and a prospect also involved.
While we don’t yet know all the players involved, the framework for the trade is an interesting one. Jean Segura headlined the Angels half of a trade that sent Zack Greinke from Milwaukee to Los Angeles more than six years ago. By the following All-Star Break, Segura looked like a star, with a 133 wRC+ and four wins in the first half of the season. He spent the next two and a half seasons as a replacement-level player, a period that included the tragic loss of his 9-month-old son in the middle of the 2014 season. Whether Segura just needed a change of scenery or more time to develop as a a player and a person, a trade to Arizona that sent Chase Anderson and Isan Diaz to Milwaukee led to Segura’s breakout 2016 campaign.
The Diamondbacks, in need of pitching, traded Segura and Mitch Haniger to Seattle for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte. At the time of the trade, both Dave Cameron and Jeff Sullivan presciently focused on Haniger, but Segura has been a good player in two seasons with the Mariners and earned a five-year, $70 million contract extension in 2017. He has $58 million left on the deal that runs through 2022 and includes a $17 million option for 2023. He’s a roughly average defensive shortstop with an above average hitting line predicated on putting the ball in play. At 29 years old next year, he’d likely be the third-best position player on the market this winter if he hadn’t signed his extension, and would be looking at anywhere from $60 to $90 million in free agent guarantees. His contract is a fair value, but does rebuilding Seattle little good.
Heading into 2017, J.P. Crawford was one of the top 10 prospects in baseball. A disastrous first month of the season was balanced by a very good summer, and he put up a 114 wRC+ over the remainder of the season before receiving a call-up. The uneven season moved Crawford down a little on the prospect ranks, but the Phillies still saw him as the shortstop of the future and traded Freddy Galvis. A strained right forearm and fractured left hand caused two month-long disabled list trips and stunted Crawford’s season. He ended up with just 138 plate appearances and too many strikeouts, though he still showed a little pop and a solid walk rate. The Phillies want to contend now and are opting for proven performance over potential. With Seattle in the exact opposite position, they can take time to see if the soon-to-be 24-year-old can live up to his lofty prospect status. Crawford doesn’t add to the Mariners growing list of solid prospects, but he does add another young player with the potential to help the team contend down the line.
What this does for the Phillies’ potential pursuit of Manny Machado is anyone’s guess, but Bob Nightengale is reporting they aren’t out on anyone yet after this potential move. We’ll have a full post if or when the deal goes final.
Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.