Bill Baer

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Jean Segura #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks makes a throw to first base for the third out of the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Mariners acquire Jean Segura as part of five-player trade with Diamondbacks

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Happy Thanksgiving! The Mariners announced late Wednesday night that the club acquired shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Mitch Haniger, and pitcher Zac Curtis from the Diamondbacks in exchange for pitcher Taijuan Walker and shortstop Ketel Marte.

Segura, 26, is the big name in the trade. He finished 13th in National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting this past season after batting .319/.368/.499 with 20 home runs, 64 RBI, 102 runs scored, and 33 stolen bases in 694 plate appearances. Segura led the league with 203 hits. He’s a decent defender having primarily played shortstop but also some second base. The Mariners will use him at shortstop to fill the gap left by Marte and Robinson Cano, of course, will man second base.

Haniger, 25, made his major league debut in 2016 and hit .229/.309/.404 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 123 plate appearances. He split the rest of the season between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. The Mariners don’t quite have their corner outfield situation cleared up yet, so Haniger could see some time there if he performs well in spring training.

Curtis, 24, also debuted this past season, racking up 13 1/3 innings in relief. The lefty mustered a 6.75 ERA with an unfortunate 10/13 K/BB ratio. Curtis will likely begin next season in the minor leagues but could earn a mid-season promotion to provide some bullpen depth.

Walker, 24, has dealt with injuries and inconsistency since ranking as one of the best prospects in baseball several years ago. In 357 career innings, Walker has a 4.18 ERA with a 322/99 K/BB ratio. He’s still young enough where the Diamondbacks can hope for more progress. His 2016 effort wasn’t too shabby but he’s very prone to the homer, having given up 27 of them in 134 1/3 innings last season.

Marte, 23, was pretty ineffective with the bat for the Mariners, hitting .259/.287/.323 with 24 extra-base hits, 33 RBI, 55 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases across 466 plate appearances. Some of the poor offense can be blamed on a lengthy bout with mononucleosis during the second half, but he’s always been more of a singles hitter. In Marte, the Diamondbacks were looking for a controllable young middle infielder. That’s as opposed to Segura, who will be heading into two more expensive years of salary arbitration before heading for free agency.

Lots of trade analysis tends to pit one team versus the other in terms of who won, but both sides appeared to get what they wanted out of this deal, unsurprisingly.

Report: Pirates haven’t talked to Clint Hurdle about a contract extension

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 22:  Manager Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates watches action during the seventh inning of a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 22, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
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Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is signed through the 2017 season with a club option for the ’18 season. The Pirates have not approached Hurdle about a contract extension that would keep him in town beyond that, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

In six seasons under Hurdle’s leadership, the Pirates have gone 509-462 (.524) with three consecutive playoff appearances from 2013-15. Their ’13 appearance ended a 21-year playoff drought, but they ultimately lost to the Cardinals in five games in the NLDS.

Hurdle, a baseball lifer, has been praised for his willingness to work with a front office under GM Neal Huntington that has been among the most statistically-inclined. The Pirates’ reliance on statistics has led to an abundance of shifts, a trend that has become more and more popular in baseball.

Biertempfel suggests that, if the Pirates choose to move on from Hurdle after the 2017 season, bench coach Tom Prince could be the next in command. Prince managed the Williamsport Crosscutters (short-season Single-A) in 2005-06, which was then the Pirates’ minor league affiliate. He managed the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League team in 2007. In 2014, he managed the Pirates’ advanced Single-A team in Bradenton and was promoted to manage Double-A Altoona the next season.

Kate Upton clarifies comments on BBWAA awards voting

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 29:  Model/actress Kate Upton (L) and MLB player Justin Verlander attend the 2016 LACMA Art + Film Gala honoring Robert Irwin and Kathryn Bigelow presented by Gucci at LACMA on October 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for LACMA)
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for LACMA
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Last week, model/actress Kate Upton criticized the Baseball Writers Association of America — two writers from Tampa Bay, specifically — because her fiancé, Tigers starter Justin Verlander, was snubbed from the 2016 American League Cy Young Award despite getting nearly twice as many first-place votes than Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who won.

Upton wrote on Twitter, “Hey @MLB I thought I was the only person allowed to [expletive] @JustinVerlander ?! What 2 writers didn’t have him on their ballot?”

She continued, saying, “He had the majority of 1st place votes and 2 writers didn’t have him on their ballots?!! can you pick more out of touch people to vote?@MLB”

Upton added, “Sorry Rick but you didn’t get any 1st place votes? you didn’t win. #ByeFelicia @MLB keep up with the times and fire those writers.” She then retweeted a chart posted by Justin’s brother Ben statistically comparing Justin to other Cy Young candidates.

In particular, Upton was critical of MLB.com’s Rays beat writer Bill Chastain, who sent in his AL Cy Young ballot a week early and left Verlander off entirely, believing nothing could happen that would alter his vote. In Verlander’s final two starts, he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts against the Indians, then pitched seven innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts against the Braves, lowering his season ERA to 3.04. Porcello gave up six runs in 12 1/3 innings in his final two starts, causing his ERA to rise to 3.15. Had the two Tampa writers (Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press) each given Verlander at least a third-place vote, he would have had enough points to overcome Porcello.

Chastain said to the New York Post, “At the time, I thought I picked the best five guys. Maybe I should have waited until the end. When I voted, it looked pretty clear to me.” He added, “I wasn’t out to get Verlander. It was nothing personal.”

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports asked Verlander about Upton’s “dismissive comments,” but Verlander directed him to his fiancée. She said:

In the time since Upton made her initial comments, she has been dismissed by many for a multitude of reasons. But she does have a point. There really shouldn’t be any reason for a writer to turn in his or her ballot early, especially in a race that was as close as the 2016 AL Cy Young Award.

Some will say that forcing writers to wait until the end of the regular season to vote gives them little time since the playoffs start almost immediately. However, balloting is done via email now, not snail mail.

Others will say that the small window of time gives the writers little time to do research. The process of research should be a continuous process throughout the last month or two of the season. The final week or two of the season won’t invalidate that research and small adjustments — like ranking Verlander above Porcello — can be made.

The BBWAA does its awards voting prior to the start of the offseason because it prevents some players from getting an unfair advantage due to having good teammates. It also somewhat mitigates recency bias. The voting should not, under any circumstances, be moved to the end of the postseason.

Games started between 3 and 3:30 PM EDT on October 2, the final day of the season and all ended by 7:15 PM EDT. The first postseason game, the AL Wild Card game, started at 8 PM on October 4. That’s just over 48 hours, which is plenty of time to send in ballots, barring extenuating circumstances.