Fantasy Baseball Trade Reaction: Philadelphia a prime landing spot for Jean Segura
Chris Towers breaks down the Mariners' latest trade, featuring one perpetually undervalued Fantasy player who deserves more respect.
The Mariners made another trade, and yet again, they got an . This time, they sent Jean Segura to the Phillies, in a deal that should boost Segura's value, while giving a former top prospect an opportunity to play every day.
Phillies acquired Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, and James Pazos
To begin with: Segura is the only player who matters in this deal for Fantasy purposes, at least initially. Maybe Nicasio works his way into the closer discussion for the Phillies, but it almost certainly won't happen at the beginning of the season.
Now, Segura? He definitely matters, even if the underwhelming return in this deal might make you think the Mariners don't quite think so. It seems Segura's worst trait was being signed to a long-term deal, even one that by any measure is favorable one for the team. Nevertheless, the Mariners have a goal of getting out of long-term money, no matter how advantageous that money might seem.
For Fantasy purposes, Segura's appeal is pretty obvious: He contributes healthy numbers in two of the most-scarce categories in Rotisserie. He has stolen 20 bases in six straight seasons and has attempted at least 30 in four straight, in an era when basically nobody runs anymore; only 28 hitters even stole 20 bases in 2018. He has also hit .300 or better in three straight seasons, and he cut his strikeout rate down to 10.9 percent in 2018.
Now, Segura has hit just 21 homers over the last two seasons, after 20 in his breakout 2016, so his ceiling might be a bit below some of the elite options at the position. However, he is now moving from Safeco Field to Citizens Bank Park, a significant improvement in his home park. A return to 20 homers isn't likely, but it's not out of the question at his new home park.
And Segura is now going to be hitting at the top of what could be one of the best lineups in baseball. The Phillies ranked just 22nd in runs scored in 2018, but have already added Segura and are in the mix for either (or both!) of Manny Manny Machado or Bryce Harper.
Segura finds himself in a great spot, and should be high on your list of shortstop targets on Draft Day. He could be a legitimate five-category contributor for Fantasy and might not be valued properly. In nine mock drafts hosted by FanGraphs.com's Justin Mason featuring industry members, Segura's ADP was 72nd overall, behind (among others), Corey Seager, Gleyber Torres, and Xander Bogaerts. I think I'll take Segura over all three.
Mariners acquired Carlos Santana, J.P. Crawford
Santana is the bigger name here, and the more likely one to make an impact for Fantasy purposes in 2019, but it's pretty hard to get excited about this move for him. He's a fringe-y option as is, ranking 16th at first base in Rotisserie leagues in 2018. He was sixth at the position in points leagues, and that has always been his better format, but the move to Seattle hurts his value there, given the park and lineup downgrade. Santana will still get on base and hit around 25 homers, but in Seattle's lineup, he may struggle to get to 80 RBI or 85 runs. He's not a bad Fantasy option, but he's not someone to get excited about as your starting first baseman.
Crawford is definitely the more interesting case among the two going back to Seattle now that he's slated for everyday playing time, though he won't be someone you're tripping over yourself to draft in 2019. The former top-20 prospect has appeared 72 games at the major-league level, hitting just .214/.333/.358. The walk rate (12.9 percent) is solid, but he hasn't shown enough else to make it matter. And that's been the issue for Crawford going back to the minors.
Crawford has appeared in 230 games at Triple-A, hitting just .244 with 20 homers. And he hasn't run much either, with just 13 steals at the level. You could give Crawford the benefit of the doubt that his plate discipline will allow his bat to play up when he gets a chance to play consistently in the majors, but right now, we're stuck with a former top prospect who doesn't hit or run well enough to make an impact.
Still, the pedigree counts for something, and you don't have to squint too hard to see a Marcus Semien-like profile here. I understand if that doesn't excite you, but Semien was a top-100 hitter in 2018 while hitting .255 with 15 homers and 14 steals. The problem is, Crawford hasn't even shown that kind of skill since Double-A, so take a wait-and-see approach. As a bench bat in a deeper Rotisserie league, Crawford will be an interesting flier on Draft Day this spring, but he'll probably go undrafted in most H2H formats.
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