Looking Back: David Segui

With all the Hall of Fame hoopla in these parts lately, I realized I forgot to do a "Looking Back" feature on the forgotten Met on this year's Hall of Fame ballot, David Segui. And by "forgot" I really mean to say "was stumped as to what could possibly be interesting about his baseball career, other than Kirk Radomski."

If you ask me, the most interesting thing about Segui is that he was traded five times. I don't recall anyone ever saying a bad word about him while he was playing--no problems with the media, management, or teammates. Now we know he used both steroids and HGH, so maybe that had something to do with it, but it appears to have just been luck: he had a tendency to play on bad teams who were more willing to trade his expiring contract to a contender.

One of these days I'm going to write a column about guys the Mets traded away in lopsided deals but didn't really cost the team anything, because they were acquired in deals just as lopsided in the first place. Think Jason Bay's original tenure with the organization: he was acquired for utility infielder Lou Collier but then shipped away for Jason Middlebrook and a couple months of Steve Reed.

The Mets acquired Segui just before the 1994 season for all-glove no-hit infielder Kevin Baez (who never played in the majors again) and a 25-year-old relief prospect named Tom Wegmann, who showed some good minor league strikeout rates but never made it to the Show. It was a modest price for Segui, who had breezed through the minors much quicker than expected, demonstrating a good line drive bat. He had hit .273/.351/.400 in 1993 for the Orioles at 26, so it was clear Segui had decent on-base ability, if nothing else.

The Mets held onto Segui during a disappointing 1994, but the emergence of Rico Brogna made Segui expendable. After a hot start in 1995, they decided to ship him off to Montreal for pitching prospect Reid Cornelius. It was a terrible trade; Segui still had almost 4000 PAs of .304/.372/.470 production left in his career, and Cornelius provided a good name and little else (although he was eventually part of the deal that brought Mark Clark to the Mets in 1996). Still, when all it cost to acquire Segui in the first place was Baez and Wegmann, it's tough to complain too much.

After a couple strong seasons in Montreal, Segui signed with Seattle, where he was traded again at the deadline in 1999, this time to Toronto for a pair of relievers, neither of whom did anything of interest. That offseason he re-signed with Toronto for one year, but he was traded before the season even began. The trade was remarkable, to me at least, for two reasons: one, because Segui had only just signed a contract, and, two, because it was a three-team challenge trade--I don't know if another one of those has ever occurred. The Jays sent Segui and cash to Texas, who sent Lee Stevens to Montreal, who in turn traded Brad Fullmer to Toronto. No other players were involved. Three teams, three first basemen.

Texas won the trade, as Segui had the only 150-game season of his career, hit .334/.388/.510, and was attractive enough of a target for the Indians to dangle one time super-prospect Ricky Ledee at the trade deadline. Texas jumped, and Segui found himself traded for the third time in a year.

Player Career Top 3 Top 5 Per 162
David Segui 7.8 7.1 7.1 0.87

(This chart represents Segui's career WAR, his WAR in his best three seasons, his WAR in his best stretch of five consecutive seasons, and his career average per 162 games.)

I'm a little surprised Segui's career numbers weren't a little better. Part of the reason is that Total Zone doesn't care much for Segui's defense; I'm willing to believe Total Zone is missing a little something, as Segui rates out as slightly above average by both Baseball Prospectus and Win Shares. Otherwise, he was a good hitter, not a great one, and injuries really took a toll; he managed to play more than 130 games only three times in his career, and he accumulated 500-plus days on the DL. There's no way he's getting a call from the Cooperstown today, but it was a fine career, and it's a pity it will barely be remembered again, beginning tomorrow.

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