Is Jean Segura the solution to Red Sox’ Trevor Story concerns?
With Xander Bogaerts on the San Diego Padres until what feels like the end of time, Trevor Story is the presumed starting shortstop for the 2023 Boston Red Sox.
Unfortunately, moving him from second base – where he shined in an injury-limited 2022 – only creates another hole, as does moving Kiké Hernández in from centerfield. Christian Arroyo can play second, but he’s never been on the field for more than 87 games and has a lengthy injury history.
Are the Sox still shopping the free-agent market? Presumably, they are, based on Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom’s Winter Meetings reveal that they want to add 7-9 players this offseason.
Jean Segura could be on the long list of players in whom the Sox have shown interest.
Is Jean Segura a good fit for the Boston Red Sox?
The Sox can replace Bogaerts’ offensive production, but there’s so much more to this loss than numbers on a spreadsheet. He was the unofficial captain, the always-accountable face of the franchise, and the warm heart of a cold business.
But Segura, a fan-favorite in Philadelphia for the last four years, could be a more than adequate bandaid on the bullet wound. He would offer the Sox some middle-infield versatility; he plays shortstop and second base, so if Story’s arm can’t handle a move back to short, Segura could slot in. He’s played 911 career games (835 complete) at shortstop, and 399 (335 complete) at second. He offers solid sprint speed (59th percentile) and arm strength (61st) for an almost 33-year-old; Story ranked in the 8th percentile in arm strength this year.
Over 11 big-league seasons between the Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners, and Phillies, Segura is a career .285/.330/.408 hitter who averages 28 doubles and 13 home runs per 162 games with a 13.9% career K rate that’s well below the league average. In 2022, he ranked in the 72nd percentile or better in max exit velocity (72nd), Whiff % (86), Outs Above Average (84th), and K% (88th), but was well below-average in average exit velocity (24th), xwOBA (35th), barrel % (15th), hard-hit % (41st), xSLG (28th), BB% (27th), and chase rate (16th).
A hit-by-pitch finger fracture limited Segura to 98 regular-season games this year, but the Phillies managed to get into the postseason via the third Wild Card, simultaneously ending individual and collective droughts. Prior to what ended up being a pennant-winning run, Segura was MLB’s active leader in career games played without appearing in the postseason. With the Phillies trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 in the ninth inning of the first Wild Card game, he stepped up to bat and gave his team the lead.
At Fenway for Masataka Yoshida’s introduction last week, agent Scott Boras strongly hinted that Marcelo Mayer’s potential influenced the Sox in negotiations with Bogaerts. The 19-year-old shortstop is the No 1. prospect in the system but just got promoted to High-A last summer, where he played 25 games. He’s likely still two or three years away from a possible debut, but if the Sox are as high on him as they seem, Segura could be the player they sign to bridge the gap while he continues to develop.
Of course, only approximately 10% of minor-leaguers make their major-league debuts, and only a fraction will stick long enough to reach free agency. Several years of top-prospect busts and the recent designation for assignment of Jeter Downs should serve as a reminder not to count chickens before they hatch.