Friday, November 25, 2016


The Thanksgiving Holiday delayed things a bit but let's delve into the Tuesday blockbuster trade between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners centering on pitcher Taijuan Walker and shortstop/second baseman Jean Segura.  Overall, the Mariners swap Walker, and  shortstop Ketel Marte for a package highlighted by Segura, outfielder Mitch Haiger,and lefty Zach Curtis.  Obviously Walker and Segura are the main chips so let's get into each.

Taijuan Walker:  Still just 24, Walker gets a new start in Arizona after enduring ongoing shoulder trouble and overall disappointing numbers with the Mariners.  Considered one of the best power arm pitching prospects in the game while coming up, Walker has pitched to ugly 4.56 and 4.22 ERA's the last two seasons with the Mariners.  A lot of Walker's progress has been interrupted by a few bouts with shoulder trouble and that alone is a monstrous red flag for a pitcher since problems there tend to erode stuff and fastballs.  On that front, Walker did see a drop in his strikeouts last season as he whiffed just 119 batters in 134.1 innings (7.97 K/9 rate).  Walker continues to struggle with the long ball (sky-high 1.81 HR/9) which is especially troubling considering he will now call the launching pad that is Chase Field home.  While Walker has improved his control and still retains potential as a strikeout pitcher, the fact of the matter is that his move to Arizona will hurt him more with the long ball then it will help him when it comes to the likely boost in his strikeout total.  Draft only as a low-end SP 4 with some slight upside. 

Jean Segura:  The D-Backs think they might be selling high here but we are not liking the swap from their end.  It is understandable they would be looking for cheap pitching though after whiffing both on Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller last season and Walker fits that bill at least.  As far as Segura is concerned, he had a career-year in Arizona last season (his first there after coming over in a trade from Milwaukee) when he hit .319 with 20 home runs and stole 33 bags.  This came after Segura seemed like a 2013 one-year wonder when he struggled the following two seasons.  Unfortunately for Segura, he moves to a more spacious park in Seattle that will chip a few home runs from his 2016 total but he also should still run like crazy on a team that is looking for speed.  Alas Segura won't hit .319 again either as he is more of a .290 guy and his move back to shortstop could hurt his offensive numbers a bit again as struggles there with Milwaukee was said to have hurt his hitting.  Downgrade Segura slightly but not too much since he retains decent value both at second base and at shortstop. 

Ketel Marte:  Marte is somewhat interesting now moving to Arizona because he is in the same position as Segura prior to 2016 as a reclamation project moving into a top hitting ballpark.  The guy has speed to burn, is still young, and has power that is developing.  Not the worst way to spend a late round upside pick this season. 

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