Segura will receive $70 million over five seasons with an option for a sixth season.
The Mariners have found a starting shortstop and a productive leadoff hitter in one player and they aren’t letting him go.
The team announced on Wednesday morning that they’ve signed Jean Segura to a five-year contract extension, making him part of the team’s future.
“Over the past two seasons, Jean has been one of the premier offensive players in baseball,” said Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto. “His combination of average, power and speed is extremely difficult to find, especially as a top-of-the-lineup hitter at a key defensive position like shortstop. We are all quite excited about having him here with the Mariners and believe he is a key ingredient in our ongoing effort to build a championship level roster.”
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With his wife, Kellen, who is expecting their second child, and his son, Juan Diego, joining him at a press conference at Safeco Field and his teammates and coaching staff clad in their pregame uniforms also standing and watching, Segura relished his future with the Mariners and the emotional, financial and professional stability that a contract extension would provide.
“For me, this is a good opportunity to be here a long time,” he said. “I feel thankful. I just want to be a Mariner for the next six years. What else could I need? I have my beautiful family, my great teammates and great people behind me. It’s the best gift I’ve ever received in my life. With my family, now I can take care of everything. I have my little boy and I have another one on the way. Now, I can go to the baseball field not be thinking too much about how it’s going to be tomorrow for my boys and my family.”
While the Mariners didn’t release the financial details of the contract per club policy, sources confirmed the structure of the contract. Segura will receive a $3 million signing bonus. He will make $9 million for the 2018 season and then $14.25 million per season from 2019 through 2022. There is a club option for a sixth year at $17 million in 2023 with a $1 million buyout. The contract also features a full no-trade clause.
“I feel like this is home for me,” he said. “As a player, you choose where you feel comfortable and it feels like home to you and it doesn’t matter how much money you are going to take, but how you are going to feel.”
The no-trade clause was something that Segura and his representation Creative Artists Agency wanted as part of any contract extension. Segura has been traded three times in his career, once previously by Dipoto, going from the Angels to the Brewers to the Diamondbacks and then the Mariners.
“It was definitely something that comes up on every extension or free agent deal that we do, but this was really important because he needed to create some stability for the player,” said Nez Balelo, Segura’s agent from CAA. “He’s a really good player, but if he continues to bounce around then people start asking questions. So we felt that this was a really comfortable home for him. He’s really comfortable here.”
Dipoto understood the desire for that stability.
“It’s not as typical,” Dipoto said of the no-trade clause. “I feel like in this case because of the amount of times that Jean has moved that it was important and I didn’t think it was an unreasonable ask with the adjustments that he’s had to make and the different cities he’s gone to. It’s the fact that he wants to be here and he wants to play for the Mariners. We are buying a six-year stretch of his career that will span his age 27 season to potentially his age 33 season. It’s a good buy for the Mariners.”
This is the first major contract commitment of the new ownership group led by Chief Executive Officer John Stanton, who sat beaming at the press conference, along with president Kevin Mather, and traded high fives with Segura’s son. Mariners’ ownership embraced the idea of extending Segura.
“A unanimous go for it,” Dipoto said of ownership’s response. “I can speak for John and Kevin as well. When I brought it to them the first time, I know it was shared with the ownership group to give them the ok to roll ahead with negotiations, everybody was absolutely in back of the negotiations or the proposal each step of the way. They were all for it. It’s not hard to see he’s a good player. He’s exciting to watch. It didn’t hurt the process that throughout the month and a half that we were negotiating the contract that he was roughly accumulating two to three hits a night, which made it a lot easier. I think they understand the potential return on the investment here is good for us.”
It’s been a long and unsuccessful search by the Mariners to find productive shortstop since the departure of Alex Rodriguez in 2000. Past trade attempts for veterans proved unsuccessful, while multiple high draft picks and international signings never developed into players that could handle the rigors of the position on defense while still being a viable contributor on offense.
Segura, 27, has been both for them this season, despite injuries that have landed him on the disabled list. Before suffering a high ankle sprain that forced him to the 10-day disabled list on June 3, Segura was hitting .341, tied for the best batting average in the American League with an .852 on-base plus slugging percentage, 10 doubles, four homers and 20 RBI and seven stolen bases in 43 games.
Since the start of the 2016 season, Jean ranks fourth in MLB in hits (265) and fifth in batting average (.324), despite two stints on the disabled list. Among leadoff hitters during that same span, he leads the Majors in doubles (48) while ranking 2nd in extra-base hits (79) and 5th in RBI (83).
Seattle acquired Segura in the offseason from the Diamondbacks along with outfielder Mitch Haniger and pitcher Zac Curtis in exchange for pitcher Taijuan Walker and infielder Ketel Marte. He has been everything the Mariners expected and more.
“I’m really excited about it,” manager Scott Servais said. “I’m happy for Jean. I’m happy for the Mariners. Personally, I’m very happy. He’s a special talent in the batter’s box and in the move back to shortstop I think he’s done a very good job there after not playing much short last year. I’m even more excited to get him back in the lineup.”