Every year, when players begin reporting for Spring Training, there is one guarantee: at least one player coming off a disappointing season will report to camp in the “best shape of his life.” This season for the Philadelphia Phillies, that player is Jean Segura.
On Monday, Segura told reporters that he lost 14 pounds this offseason through working out and cutting alcohol from his diet:
The Phillies acquired Segura in a trade in December of 2018 that sent Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford to the Seattle Mariners and, at the time, looked like a big win for general manager Matt Klentak. However, while Santana thrived upon his return to the Cleveland Indians, Segura struggled and had his worst season since his breakout year in 2016.
Segura’s speed has always been a big part of his game, but he had only 10 stolen bases in 2019 after six consecutive seasons with at least 20. Perhaps he was a bit out of shape, and losing the weight this offseason will help him return to form.
In 2019, a baserunning gaffe by Segura played a role in the rundown Andrew McCutchen got into that ended with him tearing his ACL. Some fans blamed Segura for the injury, and Segura addressed that on Monday, saying it negatively affected his performance throughout the rest of the season:
Segura’s fall in production following the injury certainly back this up. Prior to McCutchen’s injury, Segura was slashing .287/.339/.441, and was playing closer to the level he was at in Seattle. But after the injury, Segura slashed only .275/.314/.412, and was part of an offense that struggled down the stretch outside of Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto.
Another topic of conversation for much of this winter has been where the Phillies intend to play Segura following the signing of shortstop Didi Gregorius. While speculation has mostly indicated that Segura would land at second base, where he played during the best offensive year of his career in his 2016 season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. This would leave Scott Kingery at third base until prospect Alec Bohm is eventually called up midseason.
However, The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Scott Lauber indicated that this may not be the case in 2020:
Manager Joe Girardi has yet to commit to a position for Segura and Kingery, and if the Phillies do indeed prefer Segura at third, then Kingery will return to his natural position at second base for the first time in his major league career.
Segura spoke to reporters about it briefly on Monday, indicating that while he prefers to play shortstop, he is willing to play wherever the club deems is best:
It is worth noting that Segura has never played third base at any point in his professional baseball career, while Kingery spent parts of the last two seasons at the hot corner. When Bohm is called up, it would be a much easier transition for the Phillies to move Kingery from third base to center field instead of moving Segura to second base and Kingery to center field.
This makes the idea of Segura opening the season at the hot corner at least somewhat puzzling. Ultimately, though, the versatility of both Segura and Kingery is a positive that will help making the pieces fit together easier when Bohm ultimately comes up.
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