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isn’t even dry hasn’t been written yet on the Díaz/Canó to the Mets deal, and we’re already into the next set of trade rumors:
#Mariners have shown interest in shortstop J.P. Crawford as one piece from #Phillies in a possible deal for Jean Segura, sources tell The Athletic. Per @JSalisburyNBCS, PHI would still pursue Machado as a free agent (to play 3B) if they acquired Segura in a trade.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 1, 2018
Crawford is a 23 (soon to be 24)-year-old shortstop who was the Phillies’ first-round pick in 2013. Over his time in the Philly system, he’s consistently been ranked as their #1 prospect, and within the top 15 overall by Baseball America. Crawford had a bit of a rough patch in 2016 when the Phillies aggressively promoted the 21-year-old to Triple-A, but other than that he’s consistently posted above-average numbers at each of his minor-league stops, thanks in part to exceptional plate discipline: prior to his big league call-up in 2017, Crawford had never posted a K% higher than 18%, and frequently walked more than he struck out. A line drive hitter, Crawford isn’t a major power threat, but his selectivity at the plate and ability to hit line drives makes him an on-base machine. He gets high marks for his smooth, athletic defense as well, with a plus arm and good range. Crawford also possesses good speed on the bases, making him a well-rounded player.
At the end of the 2017 season, Crawford still ranked highly in prospect rankings after a brief, although unsuccessful, 27-day cup of coffee with the Phightin’ Phils to close out the season: MLB Pipeline had him as the #7 best SS prospect in baseball, and #4 in Philly’s system. Crawford made the 2018 Opening Day roster and struggled out of the gates, posting a wRC+ of just 55 over March and April. An forearm strain cost him the entire month of May, and no sooner did he return in June before fouling a ball off his left hand, breaking his hamate bone. When Crawford was ready to return in August, the Phillies opted to send him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley (go Iron Pigs!) rather than recall him to the big club. He did receive a September callup, posting a 156 wRC+ over that time. It’s been a bumpy journey, however, and after dealing away Freddy Galvis with the expectation Crawford would be their everyday shortstop, the Phils find themselves in need of a dependable, MLB-caliber shortstop if they want to compete over the net two seasons.
The Mariners have made no secret of their desire to move Segura, but he’d have to waive his no-trade clause before any deal could go through. Depending on how much money of his deal the Mariners would be willing to eat, the Mariners should be able to pick up another prospect out of the Phillies system. Put away your Sixto Sanchez/Alec Bohm dreams if Segura is the only player the Mariners are talking about trading (and if Mitch Haniger isn’t the other player); unfortunately, this is a system with a sharp dropoff after the top names, and it’s also heavy on outfielders, which is the one area of semi-depth on the Mariners’ farm. Personally, since Crawford is major-league adjacent and the Mariners won’t be competing for another few years, I’d rather see them go after lower-level prospects in any deal, but the opportunity to acquire Crawford, seen by many scouts as a future All-Star, might be too toothsome for the star-starved Mariners system to pass up.
He even already has a Mariners connection!