The Mariners and Phillies made it official late yesterday afternoon: Seattle has acquired first baseman Carlos Santana and shortstop J.P. Crawford from the Phillies in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura, righty Juan Nicasio and lefty James Pazos.
Segura, 28, hit .304/.341/.415 with 10 home runs, 63 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 632 plate appearances in 2018. An above-average defender, he’ll constitute a major upgrade for the Phillies at short over a corps of shortstops, led by Scott Kingery, who put up a meager .651 OPS in 2018. Segura is under contract through 2022 at $14.25 million per year with a team option for 2022 at $17 million.
Nicasio, 32, posted a 6.00 ERA in 46 appearances, but he had a much lower FIP, suggesting that his defenders and bad luck did him no favors. As it was, he struck out 53 and walked just five in 42 innings. He’ll make $9.25 million next season. Pazos, 27, had a 2.88 ERA in 60 appearances. He struck out 45 and walked 15 in 50 innings.
In return, Seattle gets a once-promising shortstop prospect in Crawford who will still only turn 24 in January and who could probably benefit from a change of scenery. They also get Santana, who was the Phillies’ big free agent signing last offseason but who hit only .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI. Yes, he walked a lot -- 110 times -- but it was a subpar season for Santana, who will turn 33 in April. He’s entering the second year of a three-year, $60 million deal. Seattle will be picking up all of that deal.
This deal is clearly a win for the Phillies, who upgrade massively at shortstop, get a nice arm in Nicasio and who, thanks to unloading Santana, are not really taking a financial hit. They are also now able to move Rhys Hoskins back to his natural position at first base rather than play him out in left field where he was a massive defensive liability. Even with this move, the Phillies are still reportedly motivated to make a big free agent splash, perhaps with Manny Machado, if he can be persuaded to play third base, possibly Bryce Harper or possibly Patrick Corbin.
For the Mariners: just the latest move in what is turning into a massive offseason fire sale in which they’ve taken on a couple of over-the-hill veterans along with some young lottery tickets, shed multiple key players and have moved, primarily, to shed long term obligations. Which ain’t the most inspiring thing in the world for M’s fans, I reckon.