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Jean Segura to Philly is official

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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.

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.