The Phillies might have found their shortstop of the future -- and it is not Manny Machado.
Early Monday evening, a day after sources confirmed to MLB.com that the Phillies were on the verge of acquiring Jean Segura from Seattle, the clubs announced the deal, which also sends former Phillies right-hander Juan Nicasio and lefty reliever James Pazos to Philadelphia for shortstop J.P. Crawford and veteran slugger Carlos Santana.
Segura, 28, is an immediate upgrade to the left side of the Phillies' infield.
He hit .304 with 10 home runs, 63 RBIs and a .755 OPS in 632 plate appearances last season with Seattle. He ranked ninth among 21 qualified shortstops in baseball with a 3.8 Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs. He ranks seventh among shortstops in WAR over the past three seasons. Segura is regarded as an above-average defender. He is remarkably difficult to strike out, which was an issue last season for the Phillies. Segura's strikeout rate (10.9 percent) ranked fourth lowest out of 140 qualified hitters.
Segura is under club control through 2023, making a club-friendly $14.25 million each of the next four seasons, with a $17 million club option or a $1 million buyout for '23.
Now that the trade is official, does it mean Machado is no longer an option for the Phillies? Not necessarily. NBC Sports Philadelphia reported over the weekend that the acquisition of Segura would not stop the Phillies from pursuing Machado, who is a brilliant third baseman. The Phillies could try to convince Machado to play there. Segura has never played third, but he has played second.
Of course, $300 million or more could help convince Machado that two All-Star shortstops on the same team can co-exist.
If Machado signs elsewhere, the Phillies could move forward with Maikel Franco at third base. Scott Kingery could play there, too. He spent most of last season at shortstop, although he is a candidate to move to second if the Phillies trade Cesar Hernandez. Regardless, the Phillies still have plenty of money to chase free agents like Bryce Harperand Patrick Corbin, among others.
The Athletic reported Friday that Corbin could sign before the Winter Meetings. The Yankees and Nationals are pursuing Corbin, too.
Crawford, 23, hit .214 with three homers, 12 RBIs and a .712 OPS in 138 plate appearances last season. After a terrible start, he posted an .848 OPS in his final 113 plate appearances, although they were spread out over several months because of injuries. The Phillies like Crawford because of his ability to control the strike zone, but there is no question they see Segura as an immediate improvement for a team looking to make the postseason in 2019.
The inclusion of Santana is significant, as it allows the club to move Rhys Hoskins from left field -- where advanced metrics rate him as one of the worst outfielders in the game -- back to first base. Additionally, it would free up a spot in the outfield and suggest that a more aggressive pursuit of Harper could be forthcoming.
Santana, 32, is an experiment that did not work for the Phillies, who signed him last December to a three-year, $60 million contract, despite the fact they already had Hoskins on the roster. They considered Santana to be a significant upgrade defensively at first base and an overall upgrade to the lineup. The Phillies also believed Hoskins could handle himself adequately in left. But Santana proved to be a league-average defender, and offensively, following a terrible April, he had his worst performance at the plate since 2015.
Segura has now been traded four times in his career, and three times in the past three years. He had problems with the Mariners last season, most notably getting into a scuffle with teammate Dee Gordon. Manager Scott Servais seemed to have had his issues with Segura, too. But it appears that was not a stumbling block for the Phillies.