The Mariners Wednesday pulled off their second five-player trade of the off-season, sending RHP and one-time untouchable Taijuan Walker, plus SSA Ketel Marte, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for SS Jean Segura, OF Mitch Haniger and LHP Zac Curtis.
A pitcher once believed to have a huge upside, Walker made 25 starts last season and Marte hit .259 in 116 games. The Mariners also designated switch-pitcher Pat Venditte for assignment to keep the roster at 40.
“Segura was one of the premier offensive players in the majors last season,” said Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto. “His combination of average, power and speed is extremely difficult to find, especially at a position like shortstop and at the top of our lineup. We believe pairing him with Robinson Canó gives us tremendous offensive potential in the middle of our infield.
“We see Haniger as a high-ceiling prospect who projects to join our outfield as soon as next season, while Zac Curtis’ track record in the minors gives us great confidence in his future as a big league pitcher.”
The 26-year-old Segura hit .319 with 203 hits, 102 runs, 41 doubles, seven triples, 20 home runs, 64 RBIs and 33 steals in 153 games with Arizona last season. His on-base percentage of .368 and slugging percentage of .499 gave him an OPS of .867.
Segura, a native of the Dominican Republic signed by the Angels as an international free agent in 2007, batted leadoff in 147 games, hitting all of his home runs from that spot, including eight to lead off a game. Among NL leadoff hitters, he ranked first in hits (198), tied for first in triples (7), second in total bases (310), tied for second in homers (20), third in RBIs (63) and fifth in average (.319).
He posted a 6.9 WAR, second highest in NL to Kris Bryant (8.3) and best by a NL second baseman since Chase Utley in 2009 (7.4). Segura, who played 142 games at second base and 23 at shortstop last season, finished 13th in MVP voting.
His combination of 20+ home runs, 30+ steals, 40+ doubles, 100+ runs, 200+ hits and a .300+ average has been accomplished five times since the start of the 2000 season. Segura joined Alfonso Soriano (2002), Hanley Ramirez (2007), Jacoby Ellsbury (2011) and Jose Altuve (2016).
The 5-foot-10, 205-pound infielder made his MLB debut with the Angels in 2012, played with Brewers from 2012-15 and was traded to Arizona prior to the 2016 season. He is a career .280 hitter (632 games) with 43 home runs and 208 RBIs.
Haniger, 25, made his debut with the D-backs Aug. 16 vs. Mets, going 2-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBIs. In 34 games, he hit .229 with five homers and 17 RBIs. Haniger was named the D-backs Minor League Player of the Year after batting .321 with 12 stolen bases in 129 games between AA Mobile and AAA Reno. Haniger was the Milwaukee Brewers’ first-round selection in the 2012 draft out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Curtis, 24, went 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 21 games with Arizona after making his debut April 30 vs. Colorado. He was selected by the Diamondbacks in the sixth round of the 2014 draft raft out of Middle Tennessee State University.
Walker, 24, once considered one of the untouchables in the Mariners’ system, went 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA last season. In parts of four MLB seasons with Seattle, he was 22-22 in 65 games, including 62 starts. He was the Mariners’ first-round pick in the 2010 draft.
Marte, 23, signed with Seattle as an international free agent Aug. 13, 2010. He made his debut with Seattle July 31, 2015 and over parts of two seasons hit .267 with 80 runs scored and 50 RBIs in 176 career games.
Venditte, 31, combined for 15 relief appearances with Toronto and Seattle last year, seven with the Mariners. He was acquired from Toronto in exchange for a player to be named later Aug. 6.