According to NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s Jim Salisbury, the Philadelphia Phillies are “aiming” to have Jean Segura and Manny Machado in the same infield. That would require the Phillies to acquire Segura from the Seattle Mariners in a trade while signing Machado in free agency.
A trade for Segura looks to be gaining steam. As The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal reported, the Mariners have shown interest in Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford and view him as a possible piece in any Segura trade. As Salisbury noted, while Segura does have a no-trade clause, he would likely waive it due to the rebuild Seattle appears to be heading towards. Segura signed a contract extension worth five years and $70 million that began in 2018. There is $60 million left on his deal.
While the Phillies interest in Machado has been known for some time, Segura’s name has only recently popped up on Philadelphia’s radar. Segura, 28, is a two-time All-Star who is coming off another solid season in which he slashed .304/.341/.415 in 144 games for the Mariners while stealing 20 bases, hitting 10 home runs and driving in 63 RBIs. He totaled a bWAR of 4.3 in 2018.
The main challenge in this scenario would be whether Segura or Machado would play shortstop. In his seven years in the majors, Segura has played 6,598.0 innings (763 games) at shortstop. He has also played 1,172.0 innings at second base (117 games). Machado has made it clear for some time he intends to play shortstop, even though he has graded out better defensively at third base.
According to Salisbury, the Phillies are going to attempt to try and convince Machado to play third base if they land Segura. Machado did win two Gold Glove Awards as a third baseman. Him playing third base would likely mean a trade of Maikel Franco, which Salisbury said in early November is almost sure to happen at some point this offseason. Fancred‘s Jon Heyman said at one point that Machado would consider returning to third base if it were for the New York Yankees. It isn’t clear whether that would be the case for the Phillies.
If the Phillies were to acquire both Segura and Machado, it would likely trigger a domino effect where Cesar Hernandez is traded and Scott Kingery takes over as the full-time second baseman after spending much of his rookie season at shortstop. Should they only acquire Segura, it’s possible that Kingery stays at shortstop, though it feels more likely he would shift back to his natural position of second base. If the Phillies aren’t able to acquire Segura but do sign Machado, Kingery would likely play second base with Machado at shortstop.
There’s also the question of what Seattle would ask for in a trade of Segura. Crawford is coming off a tough season in which injuries limited him to just 49 games. When healthy, Crawford wasn’t effective, hitting only .214 with three home runs and 12 RBIs. However, he was rated as one of the game’s best prospects just a few years ago, so there is still some potential that makes him attractive to other clubs. It’s unclear what else would be needed to complete a trade for Segura, who seemingly has a team-friendly contract and is in his prime.
Segura isn’t the only Mariner who’s been catching the attention of the Phillies either. Closer Edwin Diaz was also being looked at by the Phillies, according to MLB.com‘s Paul Morosi. Diaz could be out of reach, however, as the New York Times‘ James Wagner reported that the division-rival New York Mets were closing in on a deal for Diaz and Robinson Cano. Salisbury also mentioned that the Phillies had trade discussions for James Paxton before he was eventually traded to the Yankees.
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