D'backs acquire Walker, Marte from Mariners for Segura

D'backs acquire Walker, Marte from Mariners for Segura

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners finally landed the established shortstop they've long been trying to find.

To do it, they had to part with a talented young pitcher who still has the potential to blossom.

Seattle and Arizona pulled off a five-player trade Wednesday night, with the Mariners acquiring speedy infielder Jean Segura and the Diamondbacks getting right-hander Taijuan Walker as the centerpieces of the deal.

Segura immediately projects as Seattle's leadoff hitter and starting shortstop, solidifying an infield that already includes All-Star sluggers Kyle Seager at third base and Robinson Cano at second. But getting Segura meant the Mariners had to give up on the inconsistent Walker, a power arm who has showed occasional flashes of brilliance.

"It's hard anytime you give up talent like Taijuan," Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "Frankly, you have to give to get ... and Segura fit this club."

Arizona also obtained shortstop Ketel Marte, while Seattle received outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-hander Zac Curtis.

The addition of Walker could help a dreadful Arizona pitching staff that posted a 5.09 ERA last season, tied with Minnesota for worst in the majors. He joins a rotation that includes ace Zack GreinkeShelby MillerPatrick Corbin and Archie Bradley.

The Diamondbacks finished 69-93 last season, fourth in the NL West.

A touted prospect, the 24-year-old Walker went 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 25 starts for Seattle last season. He would be outstanding one game and then struggle the next.

"Young, controllable pitching is hard to find, and adding Taijuan to the rotation gives us significant depth in that area," new Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said.

Segura, an All-Star in 2013 with Milwaukee, is an immediate upgrade at shortstop for Seattle, which went 86-76 last season and finished three games out of a playoff spot. He hit .319 with 20 home runs, 33 stolen bases and 63 RBIs for the Diamondbacks, who acquired him from the Brewers in a January trade.

Segura spent most of last season at second base for the Diamondbacks, but will move back to shortstop with the Mariners.

"This trade made more sense for where our roster is, and Jean Segura fit this club about as well as any player we were looking at," Dipoto said.

Going into the offseason, Seattle thought its starting pitching depth was enviable. Now the Mariners will need to find supplemental arms after dealing Walker.

"Most of our focus, if not our primary focus, from now until opening day is going to be left toward the pitching staff," Dipoto said.

That might not be so easy for Seattle. Hazen said the thin market for pitchers was one of the reasons the Diamondbacks made the trade for Walker.

"We felt this was the opportunity we were going to have to take due to the market," Hazen explained.

Whether it turns out to be a successful trade could ultimately depend on how Marte and Haniger develop.

Marte had many of the same problems with inconsistency as Walker, but also became a liability in the field. Marte hit .259 in 119 games last season, but hitting was secondary to being solid in the field. At times Marte was excellent, but too many routine plays were not made. He finished with 21 errors.

Still, the Diamondbacks were struck by his athleticism and the fact that 2016 was his first full season in the majors at one position.

"Our scouts loved his ability and athleticism in the middle of the field," Hazen said. "We think he adds a lot to the middle of our infield."

Haniger, who turns 26 next month, hasn't gotten much of a chance to prove himself at the major league level, but Dipoto believes he can play all three outfield positions. Haniger was the Diamondbacks' minor league player of the year after hitting .321 with 25 homers and 94 RBIs between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He made his major league debut on Aug. 16 against the New York Mets and appeared in 34 games, hitting .229 with five homes and 17 RBIs.

"We feel like Mitch, like so many of the guys we have acquired dating back to last year, there is not much left for him to do in the minor leagues," Dipoto said. "We really like our depth and potential for impact and feel good with where we are with our outfield."

Former Giants infielder Kelby Tomlinson quickly finds new home in NL West


Former Giants infielder Kelby Tomlinson quickly finds new home in NL West

SAN FRANCISCO -- Farhan Zaidi plans to overhaul the Giants’ 40-man roster, which means plenty of additions but also a number of familiar faces signing elsewhere.

Two players who were taken off the roster before the new president of baseball operations arrived already have found new homes.

Kelby Tomlinson, a longtime backup infielder, signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, per Chris Cotillo of Casey Kelly, who made a cameo in the Giants’ rotation last season, announced on his Instagram page that he'll play in South Korea next season. 

Tomlinson played in 273 games over parts of four seasons with the Giants before they outrighted him off the roster in October to clear a 40-man spot. He had a .265/.331/.332 slash line while playing all over the infield and occasionally filling in as a left fielder.

Tomlinson was a bit of a fan favorite, and his specs became a rallying cry on social media when he contributed. He also was a favorite of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who called him Tommy Ball this season. 

[RELATED: How Giants prospect Abiatal Avelino fits Zaidi player prototype]

Zaidi likely will add more versatility to the roster this offseason, but the Giants already have two players who had passed Tomlinson on the depth chart. Alen Hanson is a good bet for the Opening Day roster next season, and Abiatal Avelino saw some time in September. 

Kelly, a former top prospect, filled in for the Giants late in the year and had a 3.04 ERA in seven appearances. The 29-year-old will play for the LG Twins in the KBO next season. 

Why Mike Krukow believes Giants won't trade Madison Bumgarner in offseason

Why Mike Krukow believes Giants won't trade Madison Bumgarner in offseason

Since they're never in the headlines and are such an obscure team, the Yankees made the first big waves of the MLB offseason by trading top prospect Justus Sheffield to the Mariners in a package for James Paxton.

Though this trade was between two American League teams, it affects the Giants in multiple ways. It essentially eliminates the Yankees as suitors in a possible Madison Bumgarner trade, and it sets the bar on what the Giants could ask for in return for their ace.

"I think there's a lot of teams out there that would love to have him [Bumgarner]. Atlanta, I think, would sit at the top of the list," Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said Tuesday on KNBR. "I don’t think he’s going to get moved. I really don't. I don't think Bumgarner's going anywhere." 

Recent decline in velocity, as well as batters hitting him harder and harder, show the Giants might need to explore trading Bumgarner sooner than later. But Krukow believes if the Giants do make the move, it will be closer to the trade deadline of the 2019 season.

The biggest barometer for him, however, was the 2018 trade deadline.

"I think if they were gonna move guys, in regards to Bumgarner, they would have done it last year when teams had two years of control,” Krukow said. “But once it got past that, I think his chances got slimmer and slimmer.” 

[RELATED: Zaidi says 'Everything has to be on the table']

Bumgarner is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2019 season, when he will be 30 — the same age as Paxton. With his team-friendly eight-year, $58.06 million deal coming to an end, the Giants essentially have three options: 1) Re-sign Bumgarner this offseason. 2) Trade Bumgarner this offseason or at the trade deadline in 2019. 3) Play out the 2019 season with the hopes they can re-sign him during the offseason. 

The last two seasons, when the left-hander has dealt with injuries from a dirt bike accident and a line drive to his hand in spring training, Bumgarner has made just 38 total starts. He's gone 10-16 with a 3.29 ERA over that span.

Giants fans differ on what the team should do, but the majority lean toward San Francisco securing the postseason hero. 

And so does Krukow. 

"Just like any other Giants fan, I don't ever want to see the guy ever wear another uniform,” he said. “I just don't think it's gonna happen this winter.”