On Wednesday, the Diamondbacks and Mariners pulled off a big five-player deal involving shortstop Jean Segura and starting pitcher Taijuan Walker. We already reviewed the trade here and here, and collected a pair of reactions to the deal here. This time, though, we want to know what you think. Based on what we know right now, which team won the trade?
The case for the Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks received four years of control for Walker and five for Ketel Marte, a young shortstop who struggled last season but held his own in the big leagues in 2015 as a 21-year-old. Segura, in contrast, only has two years of control remaining (although the other two players they gave up, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis, both have six).
Segura batted .319/.368/.499 in a spectacular 2016 campaign, but struggled to stay above replacement level in either of the two previous seasons, and had a .353 batting average on balls in play in 2016 that was out of step with his career norms. At least so far, 2016 looks like Segura’s career year, and the Diamondbacks’ decision to deal him looks like selling high. The Diamondbacks didn’t look good enough to make the playoffs in 2017, so they did well to get younger and acquire more years of team control in exchange for a player who likely wouldn’t have been with them by 2019 anyway.
Walker once rated as one of baseball’s best prospects, and while he hasn’t lived up to that billing so far, he’s still just 24, and his 2016 numbers (4.22 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 93.9-MPH average fastball velocity) suggest he still has upside, meaning the Diamondbacks might be buying low on a starter who might still have front-of-the-rotation potential. That sort of player is hard to find, and it’s even harder than usual this year given the weak free agent market for pitching. If Walker can improve, or if Marte can reemerge as a capable regular, the Diamondbacks will likely end up very happy with their end of the deal.
The case for the Mariners: If Segura can maintain anything resembling his 2016 level of production, he and Robinson Cano could give Seattle one of baseball’s most productive middle infields over the next two seasons. Segura’s 20 home runs, .319 average and 33 stolen bases last season were all outstanding, leading to an excellent 5.0 fWAR. Numbers like those would give the Mariners a big jump on the AL West in a season in which they hope to contend.
Also, the righty-hitting Haniger could help the Mariners’ outfield immediately — the 25-year-old struggled somewhat in 2016 in his first chance against big-league pitching, but he dominated Triple-A and next year could serve as an effective complement to lefties Seth Smith and Ben Gamel in the corners. And while third piece Curtis didn’t pitch well in the Majors in 2016 and doesn’t profile as a future closer, his strong performances in the minors suggest he could eventually become a good left-handed relief option.
The Mariners clearly gave up two interesting young players, but ESPN’s Keith Law (Insider only) argues that Walker’s delivery changes, his lesser command and the heavy reliance on his fastball make him a less inspiring talent than he was as a prospect. As for Marte, his future in the big leagues is far from assured after a season in which he played poor defense and struck out more than four times as much as he walked.
So what do you think? Who fared better in this deal, the Diamondbacks or the Mariners?