Haniger, Curtis also acquired in exchange for Walker, Marte
By Jane Lee
The Mariners reeled in leadoff man Jean Segura from the D-backs on Wednesday evening, acquiring the shortstop in a five-player trade that also netted them outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-hander Zac Curtis. The trade was costly, as Seattle gave up right-hander Taijuan Walker and infielder Ketel Marte in return.
"We just feel at this point, this trade made more sense with where our roster is," Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said, "and Jean Segura fit this club about as well as any player we were looking at in the trade market."
To make room on their 40-man roster, the Mariners designated switch-pitcher Pat Venditte for assignment.
Segura, who turns 27 in March, gives the Mariners their much-coveted shortstop to pair with second baseman Robinson Cano -- and one who quietly enjoyed one of the better offensive performances in the National League last season. Segura hit .319 with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs in 153 games for Arizona, adding 33 steals and posting an .867 OPS. His 203 hits ranked first in the National League.
"I feel like we're acquiring one of the premium leadoff hitters in the game," Dipoto said. "Last season was a real coming-out party for Jean.
"He's a very, very skilled athlete, and we feel like the idea of him taking the spot at shortstop alongside Robinson Cano and hitting at the top of our lineup gives us a different dynamic than we had at any point in 2016."
Segura hit a combined .266 in four seasons with the Brewers, including .294 in a 2013 All-Star campaign, but his tour in Milwaukee was marred by unimaginable tragedy when his son, Janniel, died at just nine months old in July 2014. Segura was given a change of scenery in Arizona via trade ahead of the 2016 season, and he thrived.
"We saw his true talent come through," Dipoto said.
Haniger, 25, made his Major League debut in 2016, hitting .229 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 34 games, but he was also named Arizona's Minor League Player of the Year after finishing with a .321 average, 25 homers and 94 RBIs between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. Along with power, he brings good plate discipline and above-average defensive skills at all three outfield positions.
His right-handed bat lends Dipoto and Co. a different look in what's been a left-handed-heavy outfield in Seattle.
"There's not much left for him to do in the Minor Leagues," Dipoto said. "You can't have a better year than he just experienced."
Can't wait for spring already! Let's go @Mariners Pumped to be apart of such a great organization!
Curtis, 24, made 21 appearances with Arizona in 2016, pitching to a 6.75 ERA. His track record in the Minors over the last three seasons is telling: He racked up 53 saves and a 1.95 ERA in 104 appearances, striking out 169 while walking 35.
Dipoto acknowledged, "It's hard any time you give up talent like Taijuan, but frankly you have to give to get, and in this case we feel like we're getting a little bit more of a known commodity. We understand that Taijuan takes with him the upside to achieve something greater than we've seen, and I know that's real. At some point, he's going to put it all together, and he will find himself as a pitcher."
Walker's upside remains high, even after going 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA while dealing with a foot injury in 2016. The 24-year-old began his career as one of the most heralded prospects in all of baseball, and there's still thought he could emerge as a standout starter at the top of a rotation.
"We're probably going to look to the free-agent market, and we're certainly not opposed to continuing to look at potential for trades," Dipoto said of adding pitching help. "Obviously we've pared the group down by trading Taijuan, but we still feel like we're 10 or 11 deep in guys we feel some sense in security starting a Major League game."
Marte, still just 23, was Seattle's Opening Day shortstop, but three stints on the disabled list limited him to 119 games, and he hit .259 with a .287 on-base percentage over that span, while showcasing subpar defense.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.