By: Noah Wright
The Mariners seemed to be starting to get things right when they started this tear down and rebuild. They first traded Mike Zunino to The Rays for Mallex Smith. Smith is a 25, entering age 26 season, who’s a great base runner, decent fielder, and provides a good batting average and OBP. He’s controllable through 2023, so The M’s made a trade for a player that they could either keep until they’re ready to compete again, or trade later in the season for more prospects. Then they made another move, trading James Paxton to The Yankees for Justus Sheffield, and 2 fairly underrated prospects.
It seemed that they were now making the right moves. They knew it was time to stop trading for major league talent and major league talent only (ie. trading Luiz Gohara to The Braves for Mallex Smith, then flipping him directly to The Rays for Drew Smyly). That was until the latest Mariners rumor came out. According to Ken Rosenthal, The M’s and Padres are working on a trade that would send Mike Leake AND Jean Segura to The Padres for Wil Myers.
Now this trade is great for The Padres. They acquire a middle infielder who has been a producer at the plate and in the field the last three seasons, a solid back end starter, and get rid of a bad contract in the process.
The trade from The Mariners standpoint makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Sure, the trade does shed some cash from the payroll, but that’s it. The Mariners need more prospects. After adding Sheffield, they only have 1 top 100 prospect. Mike Leake wasn’t going to bring back much. Maybe a few lotto ticket prospects and some salary relief. Jean Segura on the other hand, could bring back a decent return.
This is Segura’s third season in a row with good numbers. Since 2016, he’s produced an overall line of .308/.353/.449. He’s averaged about 4.3 bWAR per season as well. Segura’s 2018 season was decent to say the least. He batted .304/.341/.415 with 20 stolen bases. His 111 wRC+ was ranked 8th among all shortstop wRC+ this season. Segura also has decent defense at short. This year, he turned in a 1.5 dWAR, along with 5 DRS, and .5 UZR. Plus he has experience at second base, so he has some positional flexibility. That alone would bring back a decent prospect, but he’s also on a pretty team friendly deal. From 2019 to the end of his contract in 2023, he’s owed $14.25 million each season of the contract.
This trade for The Mariners’ in general is bad for their current plan, or at least what their current plan should be. Their current plan should be trade off valuable assets now, trade other assets at the deadline if they have nice bounceback seasons, and then come back in a few years and compete for a postseason spot. This move would not help them return to contention faster. If anything, this may actually push back their contention plans a bit. Not only will The Mariners not get some prospects out of Segura, but Myers is under control through the 2022 season, with a $23 million option for 2023. His contract could clog up some payroll space in the future when The M’s could be looking to return to contention since he is owed $20+ million every season of that contract.