Overall reactions are mixed to the Diamondbacks-Mariners trade
The Arizona Diamondbacks struck a deal with the Seattle Mariners on Thanksgiving eve, trading Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte.
Initial reactions from fans are mixed, to say the least.
In a poll on Arizona Sports, 46 percent liked the deal, while 36 percent didn’t understand the trade and 17 percent were not in favor at all.
After feeling trepidation following the Shelby Miller trade, many were pleased to see the acquisition of Segura pay off for the team, as the 26-year-old led the National League with 203 hits in 2016 (first D-back to get at least 200 hits in a season since Luis Gonzalez in 2001).
While some fans saw Segura’s 2016 outburst as just that, an outburst, many believe that his 203-hit season is an outlier of his entire career as a whole, and the Diamondbacks may have made the right move in dealing him while his value couldn’t get any higher.
Time will be a factor in evaluating who comes out on top of this trade. Seattle has control over Segura for the next two seasons, while the Diamondbacks have Walker locked up for the next four.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield said that he loves these kinds of deals that can help both organizations, or could possibly blow up for one of them.
All five players are difficult to project moving forward, with Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto selling low on Walker and new Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen selling high on Segura.
Schoenfield explains how the Mariners essentially gave up on Walker, even though the 24-year-old has shown flashes of being the ace Seattle hoped he would be.
He’s a big kid who throws hard and throws strikes, but his fastball is straight and he pitches up in the zone, leading to home run problems — 27 in 134.1 innings in 2016. The Mariners grew so frustrated with Walker they sent him down to the minors in early August.
In one of his first starts back from the minors, Walker allowed six runs and three home runs whole getting knocked out in the first inning. After that, he took some advice from pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and added a little Felix Hernandez-like twist to his delivery to help him hide the ball better and keep his shoulder from flying open. Two starts later, against the same team that had just shelled him, he pitched a three-hit, 11-strikout shutout against the Angels. Over his final five starts, he posted a 2.93 ERA. That’s the kind of upside the pitching-starved Diamondbacks are banking on.
That type of upside is exactly why Hazen pulled the trigger in acquiring Walker. The Diamondbacks finished dead last in the majors in 2016 with a team ERA of 5.09 and gave up an MLB-most 821 earned runs.
Although Walker is the main jewel in this trade for the Diamondbacks, it would be unwise to overlook Marte. Only 23-years-old, the shortstop is four years younger than Segura and could possibly end up being the team’s starter for the foreseeable future. Diamondbacks beat writer for MLB.com Steve Gilbert thinks that Marte possesses plenty of potential that he was not simply just a filer in the trade.
Marte appeared in 57 games in 2015, hitting .283 with two home runs, three triples and 14 doubles. The following year, he played in 119 games, but saw his average dip down to .259 and only hit one home run, two triples and 21 doubles. Marte was able to increase his RBI count from 17 to 33, and while that may not be a large amount, in comparison with Nick Ahmed, one of the primarily used players at shortstop for Arizona, it’s a decent increase.
In three MLB seasons, Ahmed has hit .221 with 14 home runs, seven triples, 28 doubles and only 47 RBI. Marte has already eclipsed Ahmed’s numbers in total RBI, doubles and batting average. The only advantage Ahmed had on the next player was his defensive performance, but Marte was not far behind Ahmed in that category. Marte had a .956 fielding percentage and nine errors last season, while Ahmed had a .975 percentage and 10 errors. The ex-Mariners’ Defensive Wins Above Replacement was considerably lower than Ahmed’s, 0.5 compared to 1.8, but Marte’s presence at the plate could give him the nod over Ahmed.
When asked if this would have any impact on Ahmed, Gilbert said it was still too early to tell based on the new regime in the front office and dugout.
Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan echoed Gilbert’s notion toward Marte and believes Marte will be a full-fledged starter for the Diamondbacks.
Regardless of how the trade works out for either team, one fan thinks Segura is exceptionally happy to head to the Mariners.
And it has nothing to do with the 93 losses the Diamondbacks suffered a year ago.