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Jean Segura to Phillies - Fantasy Impact


The Mariners' teardown continued apace on Monday as the rumors were finally announced as fact: Jean Segura is on his way to Philadelphia. Joining him in the better half of the state of Pennsylvania will be relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos. Meanwhile, Carlos "Smooth" Santana and former top prospect J.P. Crawford have been sent to Seattle.

While Nicasio and Pazos will provide bullpen depth for the Phillies in 2019, their chances of fantasy relevance are slim. Segura is obviously the headliner - cf. the, uh, headline of this article - but Santana and Crawford may have value as well in the wake of the deal.

There are other places to dissect what this means for the franchises on the actual field of play. However, in the interest of full disclosure: given my rooting interests, I am positively inclined toward this transaction. It feels like a solid win for the Phillies. Could it also be one for your fantasy team? Let's find out!

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Segura: A Fitting Name

Segura means "safe" in Spanish. It would have been difficult to imagine after his performance in 2015, but the 28-year-old shortstop has lived up to that moniker over the past three seasons. He's hit .300 in all three of those years. Only three other players can say that: Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, and Freddie Freeman. Segura's .308 average is tops among shortstops over that span, while his 273 runs scored and his 75 stolen bases rank third. He's also popped 41 home runs in that time, so he's not a liability in that category either, even if he can't get back to the career high of 20 he set with Arizona in 2016.

Citizens Bank Park plays a lot more like Chase Field than Safeco Field, so Segura will be well-positioned to take a run at that number. We know the average is reliable, and that will keep him at the top of the lineup, which makes runs bankable as well. He's stolen at least 20 bases in each of his six MLB seasons, and there's little reason to expect his seventh won't bring more of the same. What you're left with is a good, high-floor three-category shortstop who will probably crack 10-15 bombs, with a few bonus dingers plausible.

What also matters, and what we don't know yet, is the composition of hitters below him. Rhys Hoskins is a lock. Odubel Herrera probably is as well. Jorge Alfaro, sure. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess. The Phillies are open to trading basically anyone on the roster and have been seriously linked to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado this winter. (They are also in on Patrick Corbin and probably every other player that isn't nailed down, but that's what happens when you have a decent number of holes, including the most important one - the flaming hole in the owner's pocket.) They probably will not get both of them, unless the universe has just decided it's time to shower me with happiness. But even one of those generational talents makes a huge difference to Segura's fantasy value. Harper instead of Nick Williams. Machado rather than Maikel Franco. These are major differences, folks. The truth is we can't say to a certainty what this trade means for Segura's outlook until we see what else Matt Klentak and company accomplish over the coming weeks or, god help us all, months.

 

Seattle's Haul

Santana, signed to a three-year contract last winter, winds up spending only one of those years in red pinstripes. His first and only season in Philly was a mixed bag. He did his thing - lots of walks, not a lot of strikeouts, solid counting stats (24 HR, 86 R, 82 RBI) - but after two seasons of hitting .259, he fell to a .229 mark in 2018. That left him barely a top-2o fantasy option at first base, and this deal doesn't help his fantasy value. Safeco is a pitcher-friendly park, and the Mariners don't figure to boast an imposing lineup as they rip their roster down to the studs. If Santana performs well anyway, he's an obvious July trade candidate.

The crux of this deal for the Mariners, instead, is Crawford. Highly regarded as he progressed through the minors after the Phillies chose him in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft, the soon to be 24-year-old has yet to make an impact at the major league level. The hope for Crawford was always that his glove and plate approach would allow him to focus his efforts on improving his hit tool and tapping fully into his power. That could still happen. Crawford's .214/.319/.393 MLB line certainly is not impressive, but it's also just 225 plate appearances, and he's dealt with a few injuries along the way.

The issue from a fantasy perspective is that Crawford has, from the jump, been a prospect who had greater value and utility in real baseball than in our game. He lacks a loud tool, and his ceiling is probably something on the order of .270 with mid-double digit totals in both home runs and stolen bases. For what it's worth, I expect him to reach that ceiling. That said, it's merely useful in some formats. While the team and park context we're dinging Santana for certainly apply to Crawford as well, it sounds like he's the Opening Day shortstop for Seattle, and the M's are likely to give him a long leash. The Phillies are trying to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011; it follows that they would have less of an inclination to simply let Crawford sink or swim.

The winter meetings loom and they should kick a highly anticipated offseason that's already seen a few big moves into high gear. RotoBaller will be here to sort out the fantasy implications every step of the way. Until next transaction, friends.

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