Jean Segura has been a blessing for the Phillies since they acquired him in December of 2018. With a .282/.337/.427 slash line and a league-leading 85 double plays turned at second base, Segura has proven himself a strong asset both on the field and at the plate for the Phillies.
Last week, a trade proposal was raised to potentially move Segura for Craig Kimbrel. While that proposal was from a talk show host and pure conjecture, it does bring up a good point about Segura’s potential trade value.
But Why Would the Phillies Trade Jean Segura?
Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius are owed similar contracts this coming season. Gregorius is due to earn $15.25 million while Segura will make $14.85 million. Gregorius is set to be an unrestricted free agent following the 2022 season while Segura owns a $17 million team option for 2022 with a $1 million club buyout.
But while their contracts are nearly identical, Segura has been by far the better player as of late. Not only has Segura performed better, but Segura is also a much more versatile player than Gregorius. While have had a majority of their career starts at shortstop, Segura has also played 302 games at second base over his 1236-game career. Gregorius, meanwhile, has had but 10 starts of his career where he has not started at short over 964 games started.
The pair of 32-year old shortstops now hold up the entirety of the Phillies’ middle infield, preventing young prospects like Nick Maton or the up-and-coming Bryson Stott from getting a chance to start at the major league level. Well, unless the Phillies want to try and ruin those players like they did Scott Kingery that is.
Now, let me guess what you are currently thinking: “Why don’t the Phillies just trade Gregorius?”
The answer is quite simple: no one would want Didi Gregorius right now. He has not performed and can only play one true position while Segura is coming off a sublime season. Not to mention Gregorius missed some time this season due to elbow issues, a bad omen from a shortstop who had Tommy John surgery in 2018.
In other words: Segura has value. The Phillies could potentially move Segura for a reliever or potentially a starting pitcher like Mike Minor. If the Phillies were to move Gregorius, they would likely have to eat some his contract to do so, which literally defeats the purpose of moving him in the first place.
Freeing Up Salary
If the Phillies were to move Segura, his salary could be utilized to help fil a few of the other holes on the team with the potential of possibly filling another gap during the trade.
The Phillies have obvious needs in the outfield as Bryce Harper is the only starter returning. Maybe Adam Haseley or Mickey Moniak figure things out, but it is not likely. The bullpen has continued to be the biggest eyesore in the league. Their starting pitching rotation could use additional depth. Throw in the fact that the designated hitter may be coming to the National League in the coming Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the Phillies have several positions to fill if they are to compete in 2022.
How much cap space do they currently have to do so? $43 million. Considering Jose Berrios‘ seven-year, $131 million contract extension in Toronto and Noah Syndergaard’s one-year, $21 million move to Anaheim, and that does not seem like much. Sure, the Phillies could go for cheap options to fill the gaps like they did last year, but we all know how well that worked out.
Freeing up extra salary is an essential move for the Phillies if they are to build a competitor for 2022. Having $30 million locked up in the middle infield while young prospects await a chance to shine is not a wise decision.
The Phillies will need to ensure they get good value on any trade for Segura, but he is perhaps the Phillies’ best bartering chip if they are to cut costs to fuel an already active free agent market.
Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire