In his fourth season with the Phillies, Jean Segura became a fan-favorite as Philadelphia made a shocking run to the World Series.
But, it's a cutthroat business. Less than a week after they were defeated by the Houston Astros in the World Series, the Phillies declined a $17 million club option on Segura for 2023, triggering a $1 million and making him a free agent.
As he enters his age-33 season, Segura may be a player who is more effective playing 135 games per season than 155, but there's no doubt that he should be of interest to a slew of contending teams.
Segura has excellent bat-to-ball skills, and his arm is a real weapon in the field, with Statcast grading him as having the strongest arm among qualified second baseman in 2022. He probably is only an option at shortstop in a pinch at this stage of his career, but Segura briefly played at third base in 2020 before Alec Bohm was called up, and with such a strong arm, there's no reason to think he couldn't play there regularly if asked to.
MLB Trade Rumors has projected that Segura will receive a two-year/$18 million deal in free agency. Here are five potential landing spots for the two-time All-Star:
Segura told Phillies Nation prior to the World Series that he "would love" to finish his career in red pinstripes. But while declining his 2023 option doesn't close the door on a reunion with Segura, the more likely scenario appears to be that the Phillies will sign one of the four available star shortstops -- Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson -- and push Bryson Stott to second base. If that plan falls through, perhaps the Phillies will circle back to Segura. Or maybe they'll trade one of Rhys Hoskins or Alec Bohm, opening up third base. That feels unlikely, but not impossible. The guess here is Segura won't be back with the Phillies in 2023.
Chicago White Sox
81-81 marked a disappointing 2022 season for the White Sox, but their roster is much more talented than a .500 record. Pedro Grifol may prove to be a more steady hand than Tony La Russa. The Chi Sox probably won't have worse luck in terms of injuries than they did in 2022, when Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez all were limited to less than 110 games. As Jim Bowden of The Athletic noted, improving at second base is one of the biggest priorities for the White Sox this offseason. If the White Sox signed Segura and had better luck in 2023, they could very well win the American League Central.
Los Angeles Dodgers
If the Dodgers re-sign Trea Turner or land any of the other star shortstops, Segura probably won't be a fit. But Andrew Friedman and company love players with positional flexibility, and Segura would give them that. If Gavin Lux takes over at shortstop in 2023, Segura could open the season as the starter at second base. Justin Turner is also a free agent, and while top prospect Miguel Vargas could seize the bulk of the playing time at third base, having Segura as alternative on the roster wouldn't be the worst thing.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants finished dead last with -52 defensive runs saved as a team in 2022, and while Thairo Estrada put up impressive offensive production, he had -12 defensive runs saved in 775 2/3 innings at second base. Segura would be a clear upgrade defensively at second base, and could also be an option at third base, where the Giants also currently have a vacancy. Gabe Kapler managed Segura on the Phillies in 2019, so there is a history between the two.
From an on-paper sense, the Mariners may be the best fit for Segura, who could be the primary second baseman on a team that reached the postseason for the first time since 2001 this past campaign. But Segura played for the Mariners in 2017 and 2018 after signing a five-year/$70 million free-agent deal with the team. As the Mariners slashed costs, they traded him to the Phillies in advance of the 2019 season in a deal that netted them J.P. Crawford. You never know what type of bad blood might linger from either side given the abrupt ending to their prior engagement. But if neither side burned the bridge a few winters ago, a return to Seattle would make quite a bit of sense for Segura.