No National League team made contact last season at a lower rate than the Phillies. And just four players in all of baseball made contact at a higher rate than Jean Segura. That is why it makes sense that the Phillies have been linked this week to the Seattle shortstop.
The Phillies, according to reports by The Athletic and NBC Sports Philadelphia, are interested in Segura, who had a .755 OPS last season and led all shortstops with a .304 batting average. The Mariners have made virtually there entire roster available via trade. They are currently finalizing a trade that would send Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz to the Mets. The Phillies would like to be next.
Segura is 28, is an above average defender, and is under contract through 2023. There’s enough reasons to be attracted. But to a team that struggled to make contact, Segura’s ability to put the bat on the ball is near the top of the list.
Segura made contact last season in 88.3-percent of his at-bats, which was the highest among all shortstops. The Phillies finished with a contact rate of just 74.7 percent led by Carlos Santana’s 82.6-percent rate. Only the Orioles made contact at a worse rate.
Segura’s ability to make contact attributed to him totaling the second-lowest strikeout rate among shortstops, which is another reason for attraction as the Phillies had the third-highest strikeout rate in the majors. The contact-plagued Phillies finished last season with their worst team batting average in 47 years and an OPS that was 21-points below the league average. Adding Segura would not a be a cure all, but it would be a significant help.
Segura will make $14.85 million for the next four seasons and has a $17 million option for 2023. It is important to note that adding Segura, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia, would not disqualify the Phillies from pursuing Manny Machado. Machado primarily played third base before this season when he requested the Orioles to move him to shortstop because that’s were he said his “heart” was. But the Phillies would have to hope they can persuade him - with the help of roughly $300 million - to play third base if they add Segura to play shortstop.
The pursuit of Machado and Bryce Harper will begin in earnest next week when baseball convenes in Las Vegas for the four-day Winter Meetings. The Phillies will meet with representatives for both and it will be considered a disappointment if they do not end the offseason with one of them on their roster. But that does not mean they can’t make moves before then. And Segura - for both his contract and his contact - is a player that makes sense.