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When the Philadelphia Phillies traded for Jean Segura following the 2018 season, it was seen as a huge win for the organization. Coming off three straight seasons of batting .300 or higher, Segura was supposed to bring a level of professionalism to the plate that the team lacked.
Fast forward two seasons and Segura has been a massive disappointment. He is slashing just .276/.329/.421 across 198 games in Philadelphia, putting up an OPS+ of 95, which is 5% below average. Furthermore, he has shown a lack of hustle at times, going so far as to fail to run a ball out in June of 2019, which resulted in Andrew McCutchen tearing his ACL. While Segura cannot be blamed for the freak injury, his lack of hustle is what caused it to happen in the first place.
His defense at 2B, SS, and 3B has been suspect for his entire Phillies tenure and he simply hasn’t seemed to put his all into the team. Signed to a 5-year/$70 million contract through the 2022 season (with a 2023 team option), it is unlikely that Segura is going anywhere.
That leaves the Phillies with a few options.
First, they can commit to playing Segura every day at either SS or 2B, depending on if they sign a free-agent shortstop, as well as where they wish to play Scott Kingery.
Second, they could use Segura as a utility player, spelling Kingery, SS-to-be, and Alec Bohm across the inner diamond.
Or, third, they could commit to Segura as a bench player.
Clearly, the third option is going to be thrown out the window in the beginning – Segura is still a decent hitter, is making far too much money for the Phillies to bench him, and the team has a lack of better options.
So, that leaves either Options 1 or 2, with the former being most likely.
What that means most of all is that a successful 2021 Phillies season will include a successful 2021 Jean Segura season. Segura doesn’t walk much – he has just 53 walks in his two-season Phillies career – which puts a cap on how high his on-base percentage can get. As a result, he needs to hit for average. Segura hit just .266 in 54 games in 2020. That is not good enough. For the team to have the greatest chance at success, he needs to hit at or near a .300-level.
With high-level OBP guys in Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins, as well as hitting machines Bohm and J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies have the chance to be a high-scoring team again in 2020. What they need to maximize their opportunities with men on base is for players like Jean Segura to hit later in the lineup, and to actually succeed when it matters most.
If the Phillies wish to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, Jean Segura needs to hit like it’s 2018 all over again.