Rumors

Phillies interested in trading for Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura



Edwin Diaz (right) was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball in 2018. (Keith Allison)

Despite it being apparent that the Philadelphia Phillies would like to add another stable starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola, it’s unclear if the club was ever a player for James Paxton, who the Seattle Mariners traded to the New York Yankees Monday. However, if the Mariners choose to rebuild their roster – or even make small tweaks – the Phillies could be a beneficiary.

According to MLB.com‘s Jon Morosi, the Phillies have interest in Mariners shortstop Jean Segura and closer Edwin Diaz:

The Yankees also asked Dipoto about shortstop Jean Segura, who is available for the right price. The Phillies also have interest in Segura, who is known for his bat control and could help a Philadelphia lineup that finished third in the Majors with 1,520 strikeouts this year.

Perhaps most intriguingly, the Mariners haven’t ruled out the possibility of trading Edwin Diaz. The Phillies and Braves are among the teams interested in Diaz coming off his 57-save season.

Though the Mariners ultimately chose not to include Segura in the Paxton deal, he feels like an attainable trade target. The 28-year-old slashed .304/.341/.415 with 10 home runs, 63 RBIs and a 3.8 fWAR for the Mariners in 2018. He would give the Phillies a natural shortstop, allowing them to slide Scott Kingery back to his natural position of second base. Cesar Hernandez, J.P. Crawford and Maikel Franco all could potentially be of interest to the Mariners in a trade, though it will likely require a multi-player package to attain Segura.

Segura, who is owed $58 million through the 2022 season, did also play 142 games at second base for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016, the best season of his career. One would think the Phillies would acquire the two-time All-Star with the intention of playing him at shortstop, but manager Gabe Kapler likes players with positional flexibility. The Phillies are also fond of Kingery at shortstop. Heck, don’t rule out the Phillies making a trade for Segura to play shortstop, having Hernandez get a bulk of the starts at second base in 2019 and using Kingery as a super-utility player. That was the initial plan in 2018, only with Crawford, who had two extended disabled list stints in 2018, at shortstop.

While Segura is a coveted player that wouldn’t be cheap to acquire, Diaz would be that much more ambitious. The 24-year-old closer saved 57 games for the Mariners in 2018, posting a 1.96 ERA, 1.61 FIP and 3.5 fWAR. Diaz finished eighth in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2018, which isn’t too shabby for a reliever. He also won’t even become arbitration eligible until 2020, and can’t be a free-agent until after the 2022 season, making him that much more attractive as a trade piece. His addition would immediately give the Phillies one of the game’s best bullpens – they would have an elite closer in Diaz to go with Seranthony Dominguez, who could be used in whatever the highest-leverage situation is en route to getting the ball to Diaz.

At the same time, all of the attractive parts about trading for Diaz would make the Mariners asking-price extremely high. The Phillies also would be far from the only team interested in Diaz, who the Mariners, at best, appear to be willing to pick up the phone on. In a sense, Diaz feels like the type of trade you make in July, when you’re sure your team is a contender. At the same time, to be a contending team in today’s game, you need multiple elite relievers. Adding Diaz would give the Phillies two All-Star caliber relievers. And at 24, the Phillies could always flip Diaz for value if the team doesn’t have the type of success they hope to in the coming seasons.

One thing to watch: the Phillies front-office is well-connected to the Mariners front-office. Pat Gillick, a senior advisor to the general manager for the Phillies, was the Mariners general manager from 2000-2003. And Phillies general manager Matt Klentak was the assistant general manager with the Los Angeles Angels under Jerry Dipoto, who is now the Mariners general manager.

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