How’s this for an early Black Friday deal?
The Mariners finally landed their much-sought veteran shortstop late Wednesday night when they obtained Jean Segura in a five-player deal that sent right-hander Taijuan Walker and shortstop Ketel Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"In Jean Segura, we feel we are acquiring one of the premier leadoff hitters in the game," general manager Jerry Dipoto said, "He gives us a prime-years player who we feel has established what he is capable of at the big-league level."
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"We see Haniger as a high-ceiling prospect who projects to join our outfield as soon as next season," Dipoto said, "while Zac Curtis’ track record in the minors gives us great confidence in his future as a big league pitcher."
The deal comes at a significant cost.
Walker has long been viewed as the heir apparent to Felix Hernandez atop the Mariners’ rotation, and Marte projected as the club’s shortstop for the future.
"It hard any time you give up talent like Taijuan," Dipoto admitted. "But frankly, you have to give to get. In this case, we feel like we’re getting a little more of a known commodity."
The deal required the Mariners to clear one space on their 40-man roster, which they achieved by designating switch-pitcher Pat Venditte for assignment.
Segura turns 27 in March. He batted .319 last season and led the National League with 203 hits while compiling a .368 on-base percentage. He also had 41 doubles, 20 homers, 64 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.
"A very skilled athlete," Dipoto said. "We felt the idea of him taking the spot at shortstop alongside Robinson Cano and hitting at the top of our lineup gives us a different dynamic than we had at any point in 2016."
Segura is also under club control for two more years, but he eligible for arbitration and appears in line for a substantial raise after making $2.6 million.
Haniger, 25, appears to fill the Mariners’ need for a right-handed-hitting outfielder. He batted .229 last season in 34 big-league games with five 17 RBIs in his big-league debut.
But that came after Haniger batted a combined .321 with 25 homers and 94 RBIs in 129 games at Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. He also had a .419 on-base percentage and a .581 slugging percentage.
"We feel Mitch is like so many of the guys we’ve acquired dating back to last year," Dipoto said, "(in that) there’s not much left for him to do in the minor leagues. You can’t have a better year than he just experienced.
"He was the Diamondbacks’ minor-league player of the year and an all-star at two levels… We feel he’s ready to transition to the big leagues, and we’re going to give him every opportunity to win playing time."
Haniger could battle Guillermo Heredia for duty as the right-handed portion of a platoon in right field with Seth Smith, a veteran left-handed hitter. Haniger also provides an alternative if Ben Gamel or Leonys Martin suffer injuries or slumps.
Curtis, 24, also struggled last year while making his major-league debut — compiling a 6.75 ERA in 21 games. But he has a 1.93 ERA over 104 games in three minor-league seasons with 53 saves and 169 strikeouts in 111 innings.
"Zac Curtis has been one of sneaky minor-league performers over the last three years," Dipoto said. "Fifty-three saves and a sub-2.00 ERA and close to 14 strikeouts per nine (innings). He was not a small piece of this trade."
While Segura replaces Marte in the lineup, Dipoto acknowledged Walker’s departure creates a need to bolster a rotation that now projects as Hernandez, James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda and Nathan Karns.
"Those five guys have some-to-extensive experience," Dipoto said, "and we’re comfortable with that group. We’d like to augment it. Whether through free agency or trade, we’ll look to do that as the off-season continues."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners