One of the few good moves from the last offseason was the acquisition of 2B Jean Segura, who posted a career season in 2016. Segura anchored the leadoff spot for the Diamondbacks despite not posting a high walk total, although he set a career highs in almost every category. Overall he slashed .319/.368/.499 with 41 doubles, 7 triples, and 20 home runs, which was good for 5.7/5.0 fWAR/bWAR. However, despite that production, the team limped to a 69-93 finish. On paper, this team is an 80-win team but as we saw in 2016, injuries negatively affected the team who traded away too much depth.
Segura is likely due for a BABIP regression from .353 closer to his career average of .314. The changes he made in his swing, such as lowering his hands in his stance, paid major dividends in 2016 as his line drive rate increased to a career high of 19.1%. In addition, his ground ball rate dropped to a career low 53.1%, which meant he was making better contact all around. Segura’s batted ball profile in 2016 was excellent as there was no exploitable trend as he actually hit roughly the same amount of baseballs to the opposite field as he pulled. It’s hard to tell if this spike in quality contact is sustainable, but the batted ball profile even with some regression in BABIP is very good. I have him projected to produce around a .335 BABIP in 2017 and a .290/.335/.420 slash with 30 doubles and 12 homers.
The problem is finding a contending ball club in need of a 2B. Segura only has two years of control and I’m not very optimistic about the team’s chances of making the playoffs in either season. The Yankees, White Sox, Angels, and the Nationals (move Daniel Murphy to 1B) would make a lot of sense, but the Angels farm system is in as bad of shape as the Diamondbacks thanks to some poor contracts and trades, and the Nationals more likely to go the FA market to fix their 1B issues. The White Sox are a weird case as the team may be looking more to sell off pieces and rebuild than acquire them. The Yankees make the most sense as Segura is more likely to outproduce Starlin Castro at 2B and really money isn’t an issue for them. They have the prospects to make a deal if they elect to do so, even though they’ve gone towards a youth movement of late and it’s working out well for them.
An idea would be creating a package that starts with Luis Torrens and a high quality arm such as James Kaprielian or Dillon Tate. Torrens is a very gifted catching prospect with the ability to stick behind the plate, even though he’s farther down the organizational ladder than Oscar Hernandez, who has a smaller ceiling as a prospect. Kaprielian and Tate are two arms that are starting to work their way up the ladder although Kaprielian missed almost the entire 2016 season. Both have excellent fastballs and sharp breaking stuff while pitching Friday nights at collegiate powerhouses such as UCLA and UCSB. Perhaps throw in another fringe Top 30 prospect from either side and I think this could be a fair deal.
The one position where the team does have reliable depth is 2B with Chris Owings being an above average defender and a decent enough hitter to play everyday now. Segura’s defense could see a moderate jump in 2017 as he’s more comfortable with the nuances of the position even though he easily passed the eye test and was a Gold Glove finalist in 2016. The Diamondbacks don’t need to be in a rush to trade Segura just for the sake of making a move as the previous front office failed to do. An injury to a regular could raise the market price for Segura during the heat of the pennant race and at the minimum will be a hot name at the 2017 Non-Waiver Trade Deadline in July.