Is Jean Segura’s attitude a problem for the Phillies?

Jean Segura #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Jean Segura #2 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Jean Segura appeared to get in a verbal dugout altercation with manager Joe Girardi during a 10-8 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Segura was held back by third base coach Dusty Wathan and catcher J.T. Realmuto. Girardi gave very little explanation about the incident after the game.

The assumed root of the altercation was a first-inning error in which Segura mishandled a line drive at second base. When Girardi made a pitching change the following inning, Segura was also the lone infielder to remain at his position during a brief conference at the mound.

Is Jean Segura’s attitude a problem for the Phillies?

Segura is a solid major league infielder who hit .300 in three consecutive seasons with the Seattle Mariners, before being traded to Philadelphia ahead of the 2019 season. He is hitting .320 so far this season and provides a strong option in the two-hole for Girardi. However, his effort and concentration have been called into question at certain points in his career.

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais benched Segura in 2018 for lack of effort on the base paths. Although he was not responsible for the injury itself, he drew negative attention from Phillies fans two seasons ago when he did not run out a ball on a play where outfielder Andrew McCutchen suffered a torn ACL.

Segura even made a foolish mental mistake last week by throwing his glove at a ball hit up the middle against the Washington Nationals. Luckily, it did not cost the team.

Segura consistently shows lackadaisical body language on the field and is seen joking around with opposing players during games. Fans don’t typically want to see players joking around on the field if things aren’t going well for the team overall, which has been the case at many points during Segura’s tenure in Philadelphia.

Speaking on the dugout altercation, color analyst Kevin Frandsen referred to Segura’s first-inning error as a result of a lack of focus. He also pointed to sloppy infield defense as a significant reason for the loss the night prior.  The real issue, Frandsen added, is the veteran setting a poor example for young infielders Alec Bohm and Nick Maton.

Veteran Value Brought by Segura

Regardless of the extent of the problem, it is clear that Segura’s miscue was poorly timed and simply not something the Phillies needed on Sunday.

However, Segura brings significant overall value to the Phillies. Aside from an early-season injury, he has been one of the best hitters on the team this season. He did not provide a suitable veteran presence on Sunday, but it should not be a deterrent to his future with the team.

Segura made a great play diving for a grounder later in the game and ran out a pop fly that unexpectedly turned into a triple.

There were also several points last season when Segura looked to make a concerted effort to hustle on the base paths. Also, his willingness to shuffle to different infield positions has helped with lineup flexibility.

Moving Forward

Segura will never play with the same level of killer instinct as franchise great Chase Utley. His lackadaisical appearance on the field might continue to frustrate a passionate fanbase that traditionally sets high expectations for players.

Franchise hits leader Jimmy Rollins had two instances of being benched by former manager Charlie Manuel. Both occasions were interpreted as a message that veteran players need to give a strong effort on the field. They did not leave a lasting negative impact on Rollins’ career in Philadelphia.

While Girardi’s postgame comments will not please, incidents of this nature are usually better off being handled exclusively within the clubhouse. There is no reason to think that this particular case is any different.

Segura should be expected to bounce back and continue as a key contributor for the Phillies.

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