Mariners Diamondbacks Baseball

Seattle Mariners shortstop Jean Segura (2) in the first inning during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Philadelphia Phillies have a new shortstop.

He’s not Manny Machado, but he still should make Philadelphia better.

The Phillies traded shortstop J.P. Crawford and first baseman Carlos Santana to the Seattle Mariners for shortstop Jean Segura and relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos on Monday.

Segura is the key figure in the trade, which has multiple ramifications.

“We really didn’t get much production out off the shortstop position last year,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said in a conference call with reporters Monday night. “To add an All-Star shortstop like Jean Segura moves the needle quite a bit, probably several wins.”

Segura, 28, is a two-time all-star. He batted .304 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs last season. Segura had on-base percentage of .341 or better and a slugging percentage of .415 or better in each of the last three seasons.

Segura had a WAR (wins above replacement) rating of 4.3 last season, higher than any Phillies position player in 2018.

Segura is the type of hitter the Phillies’ analytically driven front office craves. He missed on just 136 of 1,080 swings last season for a 12.6 percent swing-and miss rate, fourth best among all qualified hitters in the major leagues. Segura also put 527 of those swings in play for a contact rate of 48.4 percent — ninth best in the majors.

Segura also is a standout defensive player.

“You guys are going to very much enjoy watching him throw,” Klentak told reporters. “His arm strength is second to none.”

Segura also gives the Phillies stability. He just finished the first season of a five-year, $70 million deal that includes a team option for 2023.

Nicasio, 32, and Pazos, 27, add depth to the bullpen. Nicasio struck out 53 and walked just five in 42 innings last season. The left-handed Pazos struck out 27.4 percent of the 174 left-handed hitters he has faced the last two seasons.

“This trade checked a lot of boxes,” Klentak said.

The trade also allows the Phillies to move on from Crawford and Santana.

Crawford was once the organization’s top prospect, but he hasn’t come close to fulfilling that potential. He played in just 49 games and batted .214 last season.

The Phillies signed Santana as a free agent to a three-year, $60 million contract last winter. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler spent much of last season defending Santana’s production. Santana hit 24 home runs and knocked in 86 runs, but his .352 on-base percentage was the second lowest of his career.

Santana also batted just .229, and that drew the ire of many Phillies fans.

“Carlos Santana is one of my favorite players in the league,” Klentak said. “I like everything about the guy. But (this trade) was about making the 2019 Phillies better. We had an opportunity to land an All-Star shortstop, and including Carlos was a big part of the deal.”

Monday’s trade also impacts current Phillies.

With Santana gone, Rhys Hoskins can shift from left field to first base, his natural position. Last season’s starting shortstop Scott Kingery seems poised to be a super-utility player.

“He can play anywhere on the field,” Klentak said of Kingery. “He’s athletic. He has a strong arm. He runs well, and he’s the consummate team player. I would expect him to get regular reps (in 2019).”

Multiple national media sources have reported that acquiring Segura doesn’t mean Philadelphia has given up signing Machado. The shortstop, most recently with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is one of baseball’s prized free agents this offseason.

The Phillies could try to sign Machado and convince him to play third base. Machado has declared he wants to play shortstop. Klentak declined to discuss Machado on Monday.

“I’m going to punt on that question,” Klentak said, “because I don’t want to answer it, but also because the league ad the union have pretty strict agreements about general managers talking about free-agent players. I’m going to pass.”

The Segura trade should be the first in a string of moves the Phillies make over the next few weeks. The annual GM meetings are next week.

“This deal allows us to stay flexible,” Klentak said. “This did not have a huge impact on the payroll. We can continue to explore deals in other areas, knowing we have some payroll room to address that if necessary.”

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Twitter @ACPressMcGarry

Staff Writer

I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.

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