The 2018-2019 MLB offseason was a wild one for the Philadelphia Phillies. It saw the Phils add the face of baseball Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, who general manager Matt Klentak called “the best catcher in baseball” at the introductory press conference. In addition to those two, the Phillies signed former MVP Andrew McCutchen and former All Star closer David Robertson. But perhaps one of the least heralded moves could have one of the biggest impacts.
“Stupid Money” Move #1
In December, the Phillies struck a deal with the Seattle Mariners to acquire shortstop Jean Segura in addition to relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos in return for first baseman Carlos Santana and former top prospect J.P. Crawford. Trading Crawford was a bit of a surprise considering his former status as a prized prospect in the organization. However, the trade was absolutely worth it because they traded Crawford and his possible upside for exactly the type of player most believe is an example of what Crawford could one day become in Segura. Meanwhile, Segura is under contract for four years on a relative bargain contract and is in his prime.
With this trade being the first of Matt Klentak’s efforts to greatly improve the Phillies roster this offseason, it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. But through just six games, Segura is already showing how much of a dramatic upgrade he provides over Crawford and Scott Kingery at short.
Phillie Jean’s Immediate Impact
Entering Saturday’s game against the Twins, albeit a small sample size, Segura was hitting .370/.393/.481 with 8 runs scored and led the Phillies in hits with 10. Segura’s best trait is his ability to put bat to ball and make contact. With manager Gabe Kapler batting Segura second, hitting in front of Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto, this ability is a major sparkplug for the offense. Segura can easily get himself or others into scoring position to give the monsters hitting behind him RBI opportunities. Or, he can knock some runs in by himself, evidenced by his bases clearing double against the Nationals to give the Phillies a 5-0 lead.
Segura doesn’t walk a ton, but he rarely strikes out either. In 2018 with the Mariners, he only struck out 69 times in 586 at-bats. His uncanny ability to avoid the K is already an upgrade over the rookie struggles of Scott Kingery. His defense is also much better than Kingery. In the latter’s defense, he was playing a new position for the first time in the majors.
During the golden era of 2007-2011, Jimmy Rollins was considered the spark-plug for the team hitting atop the order. For the new era of Phillies baseball in 2019, Jean Segura is already showing how he can provide a similar jolt to the revamped Phillies.