Last December, when the Phillies had their eyes on adding prized infield free agent Manny Machado, Phillies GM Matt Klentak made a move to ensure there would be a veteran bat and arm in the lineup and infield. In a trade with the Seattle Mariners, Klentak acquired shortstop Jean Segura for shortstop J.P. Crawford and first baseman Carlos Santana.
Crawford was supposed to be the team’s next up and coming everyday shortstop after his success in the minors but the Phillies cut ties with their 2013 first-round pick after struggling to produce. Segura brought a consistent bat to the lineup along with experience to a team that was looking to make its next step to getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2012.
2019 Stats: 144 G, 618 PA, 161 H, 12 HR, 60 RBI, .280/.323/.420/ 90 OPS+, 2.3 fWAR
Coming into the 2019 season, Segura looked like the perfect fit to solve a need in the lineup. He would be that “contact hitter” needed to hit around Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto.
The two-time All-Star had a great start to last season, hitting .344 in the month of April. Segura’s ability to drive in runs and get extra-base hits helped the Phillies hold their spot in first place in the division during the first month of the season.
One of Segura’s highlights from last season came on June 27 against the Mets. With two runners on, one out and a 1-2 count, Segura smashed a 95 MPH Edwin Diaz fastball into the left field seats for a three-run walk-off home run:
As the season proceeded and the Phillies began to struggle, Segura was trending in that same direction as well. After getting off to a hot start, Segura struggled mightily in June, slashing just .223/.261/.438. He fared better in July and August but found himself in another lengthy slump at the end of the season.
Expectations were high for Segura prior to the 2019 season and he struggled to meet them. According to Fangraphs, Segura had one of his worst seasons since 2016 with lows in walk-percentage, batting average and on-base percentage.
Regardless of when the 2020 season begins, Segura will not be heading out to shortstop. With Klentak signing shortstop Didi Gregorius in December to a one-year, $14 million deal, it was made aware Segura was no longer apart of the team’s future plans at shortstop. Segura handled the position change fairly well, considering he was “open” to it from the start of the offseason.
“It’s all about the team,” Segura said to reporters at the beginning of spring training. “It’s not all about you. It’s all about the team, what is best for the team and best for the organization.”
Statistically, the numbers weren’t favorable for Segura at shortstop, making it no surprise that both sides were willing to look for options to move him away from the position. As noted by Phillies Nation’s own Tim Kelly, Segura had 20 errors, a -1.3 ultimate zone rating and -5 defensive runs saved. His 20 errors ranked first on the team and third in MLB amongst shortstops.
Due to the addition of Gregorious and departure of César Hernández to the Cleveland Indians, the original thought was Segura would move over to second base. It made a lot of sense considering it was the position he had spent the most time at other than shortstop.
In February, manager Joe Girardi told SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Angelo Cataldi the reason the Phillies tried Segura out at third instead of second was that, “Jean said ‘I can play second base in my sleep,’ because he did it in Arizona. He said ‘so let me work at third,’ and he has embraced this.”
Despite looking shaky at third in his first game of the spring, Segura has grown into the position and will be manning it every day come this season. He should not have any problems with the different throwing angle considering the different angles he threw from at shortstop.
Perhaps, moving away from shortstop along with noticeable improvement to his conditioning, Segura will be able to bounce back both offensively and defensively in 2020. The Phillies will need a big year out of their veteran infielder if they want to get back to the postseason.
Check out our previous 2020 season previews
- Aaron Nola
- Zack Wheeler
- Héctor Neris
- Rhys Hoskins
- Nick Pivetta
- Didi Gregorius
- Adam Morgan
- Adam Haseley
- Andrew McCutchen
- Vince Velasquez
- Zach Eflin
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