The trade is complete. The Phillies have acquired two-time All-Star shortstop Jean Segura and two relief pitchers from the Mariners for infielders Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford (see story).
Let’s look at some of the particulars of the deal and offer a few thoughts.
• Segura, who turns 29 in March, is signed through 2022 and owed about $60 million. The Phillies are taking on all of that money and the $9.25 million owed reliever Juan Nicasio. The Phils are also getting lefty reliever James Pazos in the deal.
The Mariners are taking on the $35 million that remains on Santana’s deal.
So the rebuilding Mariners saved about $35 million with the deal. There is value in that.
• Once again, the Phillies used their greatest resource — money — in getting a deal done. Nicasio, who had an ERA of 6.00 last season, is clearly a salary dump, but the Phils are able to take him on (and hope he rebounds in 2019) because they really wanted Segura.
In recent years, the Phillies took on significant money in the trades that sent Cole Hamels to Texas, Jonathan Papelbon to Washington, Marlon Byrd to Cincinnati and Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. Those deals netted the Phillies a number of prospects, some that did not pan out, but others such as Jorge Alfaro, Nick Pivetta, Nick Williams, Zach Eflin and Jerad Eickhoff who have made varying contributions and still have upside.
• According to sources, the Phillies still hope to sign free agent Manny Machado and play him at third base. Should the Phils fail to sign Machado, they could look to someone like Mike Moustakas on a short-term deal at third before making a run at Nolan Arenado in July or next winter when he becomes a free agent. Maikel Franco is still with the club and there’s always the chance he could stay at third base, but the team has looked to trade him in the past and this seems like the time to make it happen. The Padres are a good fit.
• Trading Santana was a big offseason objective for the Phils because it allows Rhys Hoskins to get back to his natural position of first base. With Hoskins gone, who plays the outfield? Right now, it looks like Roman Quinn in center flanked by Nick Williams and Odubel Herrera, but there is still a chance the Phils could make a play for Bryce Harper, depending on how things shake out with Machado. The gut feel here is that the Phils have prioritized Machado because they like the idea of having him and Segura on the left side of their infield.
• There’s a lot of talk that GM Matt Klentak made a mistake in signing Santana and moving Hoskins to left field last year. This might be semantics, but mistake doesn’t seem like the right word to this observer. Klentak took a gamble that he could add some offense (power and on-base percentage) to his lineup by signing Santana and that necessitated taking a chance on Hoskins in left field. Well, Hoskins struggled defensively and Santana hit .229. That doesn’t mean Klentak’s experiment was a mistake; it means it just didn’t work. Pat Gillick used to say you can’t be afraid to take chances. Klentak took one. It didn’t pan out. Now, he’s done a pretty good job getting out of it quickly. He improved his offense (a lot) and defense at shortstop in the process and got a key player (Hoskins) back in his comfort zone. Good work.
By the way, if Santana had two more hits a month, he would have hit .250. One of the problems was he was paid like a star and is really a complementary player, sort of like Jayson Werth was on the great Phillies teams, minus the studs. But Santana is still a pretty good player and hats off to him for playing hard — and looking good at third base — until the end of the 2018 season while some of his mates shut it down as the losses piled up.
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