The Philadelphia Phillies may not wait until the MLB Winter Meetings on Dec. 9 to make their first major move of the offseason.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Phillies are in advanced talks to acquire shortstop Jean Segura from the Seattle Mariners. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says that J.P. Crawford is likely to head to Seattle if a deal is completed. Bob Nightengale of USA Today went as far as saying that the deal has been agreed to in principle and will be announced Monday. Rosenthal noted Saturday that Crawford, the Phillies former top prospect, was of interest to the Mariners.
Acquiring Segura would likely mean that the Phillies will trade second baseman Cesar Hernandez, the organization’s longest-tenured player. Completion of the deal would likely mean that Scott Kingery, who spent much of his rookie season playing shortstop, would shift back to his natural position of second base. It’s not impossible that the Phillies keep Hernandez and use Kingery in a super-utility role, however.
Over the weekend, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that even if the Phillies trade for Segura, it wouldn’t stop them from pursuing four-time All-Star Manny Machado. Machado returned to shortstop in 2018, which was his natural position. His defensive metrics declined, though, and the Phillies hope would be that the right amount of money would convince Machado to return to third base, where he won two Gold Glove Awards. Machado was teammates with Segura in the 2017 World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic, so perhaps he would be more willing to move back to third if he knew Segura was playing shortstop. If not, Machado could play shortstop and Segura could play second base, though that would displace Kingery.
Beyond Crawford, it’s not clear what would head back to Seattle in a trade. It’s one thing to look at Crawford as someone with a high ceiling if he unlocks his power, but he has a .214 career batting average in 187 major league at-bats. That is a small sample size, but Crawford also struggled with offensive consistency at the upper levels of the minor leagues. It’s unlikely this would be a straight-up Crawford-for-Segura deal.
Segura, 28, hit .304 with 10 home runs and a 3.8 fWAR in 2018. He also seemingly has a team friendly contract, as he’s owed $57 million through 2022, with a $17 million club option for 2023.
We’ll have more on this story as news comes in…
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