The Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners have completed a trade that was anticipated for days. In the formal announcement, the Phillies have sent Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford to Seattle in exchange for Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, and James Pazos.
Phillies fans are very familiar with the stories of the two players who are headed out to the Pacific Northwest, so I won’t spend time regurgitating the details of their careers.
Segura is the obvious centerpiece of the deal from a Phillies perspective. He upgrades the shortstop position immediately. Nicasio is a 32-year-old veteran right-handed reliever who doesn’t beat himself with walks, and who is owed just one year at $9.25 million on his contract.
Pazos, the “third” piece in the deal coming to the Phillies, is the player in this deal with whom fans are least likely to have some familiarity. While he is not a lights-out closer-type pitcher, he is far more than a simple throw-in on the back-end of a big deal.
Pazos is a 27-year-old native of Gilbert, Arizona who was the New York Yankees 13th round selection in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego. His big-league debut came in 2015 and he would make 18 total appearances with the Yankees over two seasons.
On November 18, 2016 the Yankees dealt the southpaw to the Mariners in a straight-up deal for right-handed pitching prospect Zack Littell. New York would subsequently flip Littell to the Minnesota Twins in the July 2017 trade for veteran starting pitcher Jaime Garcia.
Over the last two seasons Pazos has become a key member of the Mariners bullpen. He has allowed just 98 hits over 103.2 innings across 119 games with a 3.39 ERA, 3.83 FIP, and a 1.322 WHIP during those two seasons.
“Pazos’ inclusion in the deal is curious but speaks to his struggles and lost velocity at the end of last season. The big lefty’s fastball slowly deteriorated from upper 90s down to low 90s and still no ability to consistently spot what was labeled an average breaking ball. The Mariners said publicly that it was a mechanical issue that led to the decrease, but some people in the organization worried that he was dealing with an injury.” ~ Ryan Divish, Seattle Times
While Pazos isn’t the kind of power lefty that free agents Andrew Miller or Zach Britton, both of whom remain on the Phillies radar, would bring he is a steady option from that side for manager Gabe Kapler to use in the match-up game that the skipper prefers.
However, Pazos was actually much more effective in 2018 against right-handed batters than against left-handers. The righties hit just .228 against him over 125 plate appearances while lefties hit him at a .280 mark in 86 plate appearances. Per Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia he was often a one-pitch hurler last season.
New Phillies lefty reliever James Pazos threw 802 pitches last season and 736 were 4-seam fastballs — 91%
— Corey Seidman (@CSeidmanNBCS) December 4, 2018
If you’re worried that his success might have been a product of the favorable pitching environment at Safeco Field, which ranked 27th of 30 MLB ballparks in runs allowed during this past season, don’t. Opposing hitters got to Pazos for just a .233 batting average against on the road while hitting him at a .263 mark in Seattle.
He also brings financial affordability for his experience level. Pazos made just over a half-million dollars for the 2018 season. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after next season, and cannot become a free agent until after the 2022 campaign.
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION:
- Phillies deal Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford to Mariners for Jean Segura and two relievers
- Mariners and Phillies have a sporadic, but at times significant, trade history
- Phillies reportedly interested in pairing Jean Segura with Manny Machado in new infield mix
- Bryce Harper has reportedly told friends that living in Philly is not his first choice
- Patrick Corbin could join the Phillies rotation if the next domino falls their way