Discarding, as you must, the utterly insane trade idea involving Kris Bryant and the Phillies discussed earlier, there is a guy in that proposal that I did want to discuss briefly as a separate matter.
The Phillies might be looking to pick up Didi Gregorius in free agency and then try to move Jean Segura:
Sources: #Phillies pursuing Didi Gregorius in free agency, as I reported on @MLBNetwork today, with the idea that Jean Segura would move to a different position or be traded. Joe Girardi managed Didi in New York, of course. @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2019
To be sure, maybe the Phillies just overload this year and let Gregorius play at short, let Segura move to second, dump Cesar Hernandez, and let Scott Kingery float around. I’m not going to assume straight away that the Phillies absolutely want to move Segura.
But, if they did, he’s worth at least a passing note here in relation to the Cubs. Although a shortstop by trade, there’s little reason to believe the 29-year-old couldn’t also be a solid second baseman, as he was in 2016 with the Diamondbacks. He’s also protection against an injury to your starting shortstop. His bat is of the extreeeeeme contact variety, not only with a strikeout rate below 12% the last two years, but also with third highest contact rate in the National League this past season (86.6%).
So, at a very superficial level, where the Cubs don’t have a certain starter at second base, and where the Cubs want to dramatically improve their contact rate, then you’ve gotta at least have this conversation.
But is Segura actually worth it overall? The righty turns 30 in March, and appeared to see his speed start its decline the last couple years (though he’s still a positive baserunner). At the plate, he saw his wRC+ decline for the third straight season, and he was below average (92) for the first time since 2015. He makes contact with the best of ’em, but he doesn’t hit for a lot of power, and he doesn’t walk (4.8% for his career), so his on base percentage is wholly dependent on his ability to get hits. Thus, when his BABIP dips – as it did last year – his overall offensive value suffers considerably. His career .326 OBP is right around league average.
Then there’s the contract. Segura is under contract for three more seasons at $14.85 million per season (plus a buyout of an option in 2023 for another $1 million). If the bat is merely league average, maybe you stomach that contract for an average defensive shortstop? But at second base, you absolutely could not justify it.
So, then, the only way Segura would make even a little sense for the Cubs right now is if there was some kind of financial offset (like a swap involving Jason Heyward, with the Cubs eating some salary), or if the Phillies simply ate a lot of salary.
… but in that scenario, aren’t there teams out there that would be a little more aggressive in pursuing a “cheap” Segura to be their shortstop?
I’m not sure I see the right fit with the Cubs here. Yes, we want to see the team improve its contact rate, but that doesn’t mean you start doing the square peg thing just to target high-contact guys. It still has to make sense in all the other ways. (For example: Shogo Akiyama.)