Mariners accelerate rebuild by trading Jean Segura to Phillies

All-Star shortstop Jean Segura appears likely to be headed to the Phillies in a trade. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
All-Star shortstop Jean Segura appears likely to be headed to the Phillies in a trade. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

The Seattle Mariners have taken the next step of their massive, rapid rebuild, as sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan a deal to send All-Star shortstop Jean Segura to the Philadelphia Phillies.

With their Robinson Cano-Edwin Diaz blockbuster with the New York Mets recently completed, the Mariners have overhauled a tremendous amount of their roster in the past month. In addition to two latest deals, general manager Jerry Dipoto has already traded ace James Paxton to the Yankees, catcher Mike Zunino to the Rays and right-hander Alex Colome to the White Sox.

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The official details of the trade include the Mariners sending Segura with relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos to the Phillies for shortstop J.P. Crawford and first baseman Carlos Santana.

The Phillies had been trying to deal Santana to clear space for Rhys Hoskins to return to first base, and the Mariners were willing to take on the two years and $35 million remaining on his contract. Nicasio was included in the deal to balance out the money changing hands.

Mariners continue to trade off pieces

The Mariners still own the longest active postseason drought in pro sports but their 89 victories in 2018 was their best win total since 2003. That was only good for the seventh-best record in the AL behind the five playoff teams and 90-win Rays. Combine that with their poor run differential — they gave up 34 more runs than they scored — and a rebuild seemed like the best route to build another contender.

By trading off those six players, the Mariners have saved nearly $60 million in salary obligations for the 2019 season alone. More could be on the way, as ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that Seattle “will do whatever it takes to trade its most expensive remaining player, Kyle Seager.” There were also rumors of a trade involving Segura, Mike Leake and San Diego Padres slugger Wil Myers two weeks ago.

The Mariners have already acquired a number of valuable prospects in their previous deals, and although his prospect status has expired, Crawford would be an intriguing piece to add to the team’s rebuild. The cousin of former All-Star Carl Crawford, J.P. was a former first-round draft pick and a consensus top-10 prospect for several years.

Crawford has struggled in his brief time in the majors with just a .214/.333/.358 slash line in 225 plate appearances. However, he has a very steady glove at shortstop and will turn just 24 in January.

What’s next for the Phillies

The Phillies have been mentioned frequently this offseason with interest in almost every marquee free agent. However, adding Segura would apparently not impact their chase for Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Patrick Corbin, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Part of the value in Segura is that he is on a below-market deal for the next four-plus years at $14.25 million per season. That is an excellent price for a 28-year-old shortstop who has accumulated 11.9 WAR over the past three years while hitting .308/.353/.449. It will leave the Phillies more capital to allocate elsewhere.

The Phillies have money to spend — as they showed last offseason by signing Santana and Jake Arrieta — and are willing to get creative. While Machado may have fit as a starting shortstop before the Segura trade, he can still slide in at third base.

There are still plenty of moves to be made for the Phillies this winter, including a potential trade of Cesar Hernandez, which would allow cornerstone youngster Scott Kingery to return to his natural position of second base.

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