The deal has largely been considered a salary dump for Seattle, who are on a mission to have an historically low payroll in 2019. Losing Nicasio and Segura’s money is significant for Jerry Dipoto, but adding Crawford is the key for the American League West team.
Crawford was ranked as high as fifth on MLB’s prospect list pre-2016 and was seventh pre-2017. He dropped to 37 pre-2018 on the same list but remained in the top 20 for Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America.
His stock has fallen dramatically, however. Injury saw him play just 49 Major League games in 2018. Those health concerns have obviously brought down his trade value.
For @jp_crawford, it was meant to be.
(via Instagram) pic.twitter.com/5VQ8LzVqW6
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) December 4, 2018
The 23-year-old has been a disappointment compared to other high-profile rookies in recent seasons, though he showed he can cope with big league pitching in 2018. His 96 wRC+ is underwhelming but hardly a disaster. It’s not so long ago that Crawford was one of baseball’s most exciting prospects – there’s every reason to believe he still has a high ceiling.
Crawford has shown a good eye throughout the minor leagues and walked in over 11% of his Major League plate appearances last season. He is never going to be a power hitter, though he has the potential to be a very good contact hitter in the Majors. His career .366 minor league on-base percentage and 327 walks to 372 strikeouts shows he has a good approach at the plate.
Crawford has the range and arm to be a very good shortstop. His versatility is handy, though his lack of pop means he will never be more than a backup at third.
The combination of Crawford’s approach and his defence is what earned him the high spots on prospect lists. He progressed quickly through the minor leagues after being picked in the first round, with his glove standing out at every level. He will be a very good piece for the Mariners if he can become a reliable .280 hitter with that eye and defence.
The Phillies sold low on Crawford. The Mariners might have picked up a franchise cornerstone as a result, while getting rid of Segura and Nicasio’s money. It’s a risk, but the ceiling and floor on Crawford are high compared to a lot of other prospects.