Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Jean Segura knows his future with the team is uncertain. But he’s expected to return late in the season to a team that’s now at least in Wild Card contention, and is hopeful that 2022 won’t be his final season with the team.
In an in-depth conversation with Matt Gelb of The Athletic, Segura admitted that he’s “jealous” that surgery to fix a broken finger has cost him the chance to be part of a 15-5 month of June.
He also acknowledged the likelihood that the Phillies will decline his $17 million club option for 2022, instead taking a $1 million buyout and sending him to free agency.
“I mean, I was playing well (before the injury),” Segura said. “I was hitting a lot of balls hard this year, more than (in years past). And I was like, ‘OK, well, maybe I’m getting stronger.’ The situation about my contract, this is my last year here probably. Or not. I cannot control that. I love this team. I would love to finish my career in Philadelphia because I still … look, it’s not a lie.”
Segura looked at the goosebumps on his arms again.
“I think this type of group is going to do something really big,” he said, “because of the talent we have in the locker room.”
Simply because the Phillies decline Segura’s option and take the buyout doesn’t mean he couldn’t return. For example, the Phillies declined Odúbel Herrera’s $11.5 million club option for 2022, making him a free agent. Ultimately, the Phillies brought Herrera back on a one-year/$1.75 million deal, paying him that salary in addition to the $2.5 million buyout he received.
So, it’s entirely possible that the Phillies could see what’s out there on the free-agent market this offseason, having already declined Segura’s option, triggering the $1 million buyout. If they don’t find what they believe to be a better arrangement, Segura could come back on a cheaper deal — say, one-year/$10 million — that even with the buyout on top of it is still cheaper than picking up his $17 million option would be.
With that said, much of this will depend upon whether Bryson Stott can demonstrate that he’s ready to take over a middle infield position on a full-time basis. The former first-round pick has two outs above average at second base, but is slashing just .161/.218/.270 so far in his rookie season.
If Stott emerges as someone that can play second base on a full-time basis, the Phillies could potentially take the combined $28.75 million that Segura and Didi Gregorius — also set to become a free agent — are making in 2022 and use it towards a star shortstop. Perhaps that won’t be the direction that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski chooses to go, but “several executives” recently predicted to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale that the Phillies will be players in a shortstop market that could include Trea Turner, Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts.
But if the Phillies don’t have a cheap option that they believe can give the bulk of the starts at second base to in 2023, that would make it harder to put $30 million — give or take — towards a shortstop. And it would probably increase the chances that Segura, 32, returns for a fifth season with the Phillies.
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