The Segura problem

 In MLB, NL East

I hate to pick on Jean Segura, but his situation is kind of a microcosm of what’s wrong with the Phillies.

In the interest of full disclosure, I supported the team’s trade for Segura after the 2018 season. He was an all-star shortstop with a track record as a contact hitter who struck out little and batted .300. He didn’t appear to be on the downside of his career, and the Phils wanted to win now. They signed Bryce Harper and acquired J.T. Realmuto that offseason, too.

The package the club sent to the Mariners included former first-round draft pick J.P. Crawford, who just completed an injury-riddled season.

A promising start

Last year, his first with the Phillies, Segura started strongly, batting second behind Andrew McCutchen, another new acquisition. Then McCutchen tore his ACL and Segura wasn’t the same, for whatever reason. His hitting declined, his fielding was erratic. For Segura to be effective, he has to hit around .300, because he doesn’t give you a lot of power.

When the Phils inked shortstop Didi Gregorius to a one-year deal this past offseason, I wonder if that was an indictment of Segura.

He ended up being moved to third base, a new position – and a hard one to play. Last night (Aug. 11), Segura’s calling off of Rhys Hoskins on a routine infield popup, which he then failed to catch, probably cost the Phillies the game. When you have players out of position (a shortstop at third, for example), this is the kind of thing that happens.

A third wheel?

You get the sense that Segura is suddenly a third wheel, filling in at third until top prospect Alec Bohm is ready. In the meantime, J.P. Crawford is thriving in the leadoff spot for Seattle and playing tremendous defense.

There’s also the issue of contracts. Segura is making way more money ($14.25 million for a full season) than Crawford. If the Phils had kept Crawford, maybe there would’ve been enough, with the lower payroll, to sign an effective veteran reliever or two for the bullpen. Instead, they were already so close to the luxury tax threshold and didn’t want to go over, they stayed pat. That’s why you have the worst bullpen ERA in baseball.

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