Phillies deal Carlos Santana, J.P. Crawford to Seattle in exchange for Jean Segura and two relievers

Segura, a 2x MLB All-Star, immediately upgrades the Phillies at the shortstop position. (Photo: Steven Paluch)

The Philadelphia Phillies have finally made their first major move of the off-season, acquiring shortstop Jean Segura and relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos from the Seattle Mariners.

In exchange the Phillies have dealt first baseman Carlos Santana and shortstop J.P. Crawford to Seattle. The New York Post‘s Joel Sherman has confirmed there was no exchange of money between the two teams.

Segura is coming off his second All-Star season, one in which he slashed .304/.341/.415 with 10 home runs and 63 RBI. Segura also stole 20 bases and logged 178 hits, producing a 4.3 bWAR mark.

Over the course of seven seasons in Major League Baseball, Segura has 64 home runs, 316 RBI, and has produced a batting average of .287 with an 18.1 bWAR mark.

Consistency is one word that comes to mind when talking about Segura. The 28-year-old has hit right around a dozen home runs and batted above .300 in each of the last three seasons.

As Matt Breen at noted, Segura had the fifth-best contact rate in MLB during the 2018 season. Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia added that over the last three seasons, Segura has produced 100 opposite-field hits, sixth-most in the league in that time. Segura adds an experienced, versatile bat to the Phillies lineup.

Segura also brings that experience to the shortstop position, having played a total of 6,598 innings there during his career. In addition, Segura played 1,172 innings at second base as the Arizona Diamondbacks starter there during the 2016 season. This could give the Phillies some flexibility if they still go after Manny Machado, who is said to want to play shortstop.

Segura signed a five-year, $70 million extension with the Mariners which runs through the 2022 season and which includes a $17 million option for a sixth year in 2023 with a $1 million buyout. Segura also has a no-trade clause, which he waived in order for the deal to be completed. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported that he received $1 million as a bonus to waive the clause, which is expected to be paid by the Mariners.


Nicasio, 32, has been Phillies property previously, albeit briefly. He pitched in two games in 2017 after being acquired off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies then shipped Nicasio to the St. Louis Cardinals just days later for prospect Eliezer Alvarez.

During that 2017 season, Nicasio had a 2.61 ERA, six saves, and a 9.0 SO/9, which helped him land a two-year, $18 million deal from the Mariners.

Nicasio had a rough year in this past 2018 season. He went 1-6 with an unsightly 6.00 ERA over 42.0 innings, although his K/9 rate did jump up to an 11.4 mark. Nicasio figures to stay put this time around, at least for the one year ($9.25 million) left on his contract. If he is able to rebound he would provide another solid veteran option in Gabe Kapler‘s bullpen.

The 27-year-old Pazos is coming off an excellent season in which he went 4-1 with a 2.88 ERA, 3.60 FIP, and a 1.240 WHIP in 50.0 innings. Pazos is still pre-arbitration eligible, and the earliest he could hit free agency would be 2023. Being left-handed, Pazos will bring some balance to a right-handed heavy bullpen.


Santana’s time with the Phillies will officially come to an end after a single polarizing season. Signed to a three-year, $60 million dollar deal last off-season, Santana slashed a disappointing .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI and a 1.7 bWAR mark.

Santana did walk 110 times, but that rarely helped from the middle of the lineup, where the Phillies needed more hits and runs produced. Santana also struggled defensively at first base, where his 10 errors led the National League. Given time at third base as the season wound to a disappointing close, it was expected that he might see more time there had he remained with the Phillies next season.

Santana is still owed around $41.2 million over the last two years of his contract, which also has a $17.5 million option for a fourth year with a $500k buyout.

Crawford, drafted 13th overall in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, was never able to approach his potential while with the Phillies. Highly-touted early in his minor league career, he was ranked among the game’s top prospects and was considered the Phillies very top prospect for a few years.

Crawford produced strong numbers that were steadily improving each year early in his career, leading to that high ranking. He fell off in 2016 and never quite got get back on track. During his first full season in the majors, Crawford was hurt by injuries. When healthy he was underwhelming, slashing just .214/.319/.393 with three home runs and a dozen RBI in 49 games.

MLB Network’s Jayson Stark reported that the Mariners attempted to also get a young pitcher in the deal, but the Phillies balked and the Mariners didn’t push it. Stark listed JoJo Romero, Zach Eflin, and Adonis Medina as arms the Mariners tried to insert into the deal.


The Segura trade carries a ton of implications. Unless the Phillies revisit the failed talks for Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt, outfielder Rhys Hoskins will presumably return to first base where he has graded out much better defensively than his left field experiment of 2018. Scott Kingery, who was used primarily as a shortstop in 2018, should see time at second base, possibly as the starter depending on what happens with Cesar Hernandez.

Salisbury noted that the Phillies will still pursue Machado, but will try to convince him to come as a third baseman instead of a shortstop, a position which the former Orioles and Dodgers superstar has expressed his interest in playing wherever he goes next.

If the Phillies do land Machado and do so with the plan to use him at third base, then current third baseman Maikel Franco is likely out. Salisbury said that was almost a certainty to happen during this off-season.

Trying to entice Machado to play third would certainly be a bold gamble. The only team Machado has said he would give up shortstop in order to play for is the New York Yankees, as Fancred‘s Jon Heyman has reported.

Machado is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner at third base, and has been rated as a far better player at the hot corner than at short. As long as Machado believes that he has a genuine opportunity to play for a championship, he could prove more flexible regarding his position.

Hoskins moving back to first base also produces an opening in left field. The Phillies current outfield options include Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, Nick Williams, and Roman Quinn. The Phillies are considered one of the leaders in the pursuit of free agent Bryce Harper, and have been rumored to be looking at other free agent outfielders as well.

The Phillies continue to pursue other free agents, including starting pitcher Patrick Corbin. The additions of Pazos and Nicasio don’t remove the Phillies from the race to sign premier relievers such as Andrew Miller or Zach Britton. After all, it has been widely reported that the Phillies have incumbent relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek on the trade block.

From the Phillies perspective, it’s hard to not to look at this trade as a success. Unloading the Santana contract and fully freeing up first base for a Hoskins return. Adding two much-needed bullpen pieces and an All-Star shortstop. This is just the start to the off-season that general manager Matt Klentak needed.

There are still a number of moves that the Phillies will have to make if their intent is to contend in the 2019 season, and anything can happen. For now it appears that the team is on track as they prepare to battle the Atlanta Braves and the rest of the NL East in 2019.




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