The new era of the Diamondbacks has begun. One month after taking over the reigns as Arizona’s GM, Mike Hazen has added what could prove to be two significant building blocks for their future.
The Diamondbacks announced late Wednesday night that they had acquired right-hander Taijuan Walker and shortstop Ketel Marte from the Mariners for shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Mitch Haniger and pitcher Zac Curtis.
Both Marte and Walker are coming off down seasons, but neither’s skill set is in question. In his first season of major league action in 2015, Marte hit .283/.351/.402, with a wRC+ of 112, and an fWAR of 1.7. His production in 2016 suffered significantly, but at just 23 years of age, there’s no reason to write off his potential future production.
As for Walker, he possesses an eye popping fastball which has topped out at over 100 MPH, but has yet to find any prolonged success at the major league level. Walker’s biggest problem has been his inability to limit home runs, as his career HR/9 is 1.36, and reached a dangerously high rate of 1.81 in 2016.
At the center of this trade for the Mariners is Jean Segura. There are clearly two different schools of thought on him, with Hazen believing his 2016 season was a fluke, and Jerry Dipoto buying into his success.
Arizona sold high on Jean Segura and bought low on Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte. Marte a legit SS, four years younger than Segura to boot.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 24, 2016
After four seasons of below average offensive production, Segura seemingly broke out with the Diamondbacks. But a quick look into his numbers suggests that the regression monster will be hungry for the Mariners’ new shortstop. In 2016, Segura experienced a huge surge in his BABIP, finally resting at .353; well above the expected average of .300, and his career average of .314.
Seattle also acquired Zac Curtis & Mitch Haniger. Curtis is a 24 year old relief pitcher who’s posted good numbers in the minor leagues, but has yet to see that success translate to the majors; albeit in a meaningless sample size of 13.1 innings.
Haniger on the other hand is a 25 year old outfielder who’s had great offensive seasons in the minor leagues, and could become a productive player for the Mariners. In 2016, at AA and AAA, Haniger produced a wRC+ of 156, and 185, respectively.
This could ultimately prove to be a rare trade where both teams go home happy. If Walker and Marte develop into the players they’re projected to become, the Diamondbacks will have two young controllable assets who can provide value to their franchise for the foreseeable future. As for the Mariners, if Segura doesn’t regress considerably, and Curtis and Haniger continue their development, they’ll be able to withstand the loss of Walker and Marte.