Brewers make interesting/confusing trade with Diamondbacks

The Brewers have officially given up on Jean Segura, a player once thought to be half of Milwaukee’s middle infield for years to come. On Saturday night, GM David Stearns sent the young shortstop and RHP Tyler Wagner to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for 2B Aaron Hill, RHP Chase Anderson and infield prospect Isan Diaz. Reminder: Segura was the prized-prospect the Brewers received when they traded Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels.

By trading Segura, the team opened a spot at shortstop for Orlando Arcia, the Brewers’ top prospect and an overall top-10 prospect in Major League Baseball. Arcia, according to Stearns will still start the year in Triple-A, but now a future trade to clear space is no longer necessary. After years of incompetence at the plate, Segura quickly lost his place in Milwaukee’s future plans. He was tremendous in his first full season with the Brewers in 2013, accumulating a 3.5 WAR with a surprisingly above-average bat (105 wRC+). That, however, was his only even remotely decent season. Over the next two, he failed to post wRC+’s above 70, and if you forgot, a league average wRC+ is 100. His on-base percentages barely even whiffed .290. As a ground-ball hitter with no power and who doesn’t walk, his usefulness at the plate was non-existent. The Brewers absolutely needed to trade him. And as far as Wagner goes, well, he’s really nothing more than a throw in. Maybe he can be an innings-eating reliever. Maybe.

But while I was of the opinion that Segura needed to be moved, I thought the return would be relatively small. His age is his only real value right now, so what would a team realistically give up to acquire him? Stearns somehow worked his magic again, though, and landed two interesting players (one with huge upside) and one fading veteran.

With that being said, I am still somewhat confused about Milwaukee’s return, making this the first of Stearns’ many moves that I’ve questioned.

Aaron Hill, an aging vet, is for lack of a better term worthless. He’ll need to platoon with Scooter Gennett to at least be a little productive. Hill used to be a very good player, but the last few seasons has been dreadful. In 2014, he was worth -0.9 WAR and last year 0.1 WAR. He’s 34 and on the last legs of his career. I mean, look at his OBP over the last few seasons:


What good does he do the Brewers? Even if Hill was still in his prime, he would be of little help. The Brewers aren’t trying to win right now. Or next year. Or the year after that. They need young, cheap players; not a failing second baseman who will cost them $5.5 million in 2016. (Thank god the DIamondbacks are forking over $6.5 million.) I’m assuming the Diamondbacks insisted that Hill be included in the deal. They were probably more than happy to shed some of his salary. The best case scenario on the Brewers side is if they can flip Hill at the deadline, although the return will be smaller than an ant.

The same can be said for Chase Anderson, although he’s more of an average player than Hill and will be around a lot longer. His age is what makes him a confusing acquisition. Anderson has played just two years in the majors, but he’s entering his age-28 season with no clear upside. He’s been a league-average pitcher in his 48 career starts (4.18 ERA and 4.17 FIP). He does have one of the best changeups in the game, but with a fastball that averages 91 mph, his arsenal is weak and it doesn’t get him many strikeouts.

Anderson won’t cost the Brewers much, and is destined to be in the starting rotation for years to come according to Stearns, but did Milwaukee really need a back-of-the-rotation starter? I’m not so sure.

Obviously, this deal will be made or broken by the progression and career of Isan Diaz. Diamondbacks’ GM Dave Stewart said Diaz was the first player the Brewers asked for when trade discussions commenced, and when looking at his last season in rookie ball, it’s easy to see why. The 19-year-old shortstop posted an insane .436 OBP and an even more crazy 169 wRC+ in 312 plate appearances. He was named the Pioneer League MVP in September. (Lyle Overbay was honored with the same award in 1999.) For a shortstop, he has some pop in his bat and the ability to walk, two things that Segura could never do. Diaz already has a higher ceiling than Segura.

Diaz is the only part of the trade that I really like and understand. He has a chance to be an above-average fielder and hitter, and the fact he’s so young gives him a lot of time to keep improving on his art. The Brewers are in no rush to get him to Milwaukee. Once again, the Brewers are playing the “high-ceiling” game, hoping Diaz turns into a respectable major-league player.

As far as Hill and Anderson go, well, I guess we’ll just have to see what happens. I could reasonably see Anderson turning into a No. 3 starter, but by the time the Brewers are ready to compete, he’ll most likely be past his prime. That’s my biggest problem with acquiring him. Hill is already past his prime and will do nothing to help the Brewers going forward. A throw-in is all he is.

The Brewers have made many great moves this offseason, but this might be the most interesting one.


9 thoughts on “Brewers make interesting/confusing trade with Diamondbacks

  1. Dave

    Why are you confused? Hill’s coming off 2 bad years, but he’s rebounded from bad years in his past before. He’ll man 3B until Arcia comes up and Villar moves over. Anderson is an established starter with 5 more years of control. To get Diaz from the D-Backs they had to take some of Hill’s salary.


    1. Justin Schultz Post author

      It doesn’t help the Brewers any even if he does bounce back. The team isn’t try to compete. And what do you mean by established starter? Sure, in two seasons he’s kind of an average starter. But he’s 28 and the Brewers are trying to go younger.


      1. Sam

        The is a pretty basic trade to understand. Dbacks wanted Segura. Brewers wanted Diaz. Dbacks said ok as long as you take some salary. Brewers, who are not competing, did the smart thing and took on salary in order to obtain a prospect. Somehow the Brewers also acquired Anderson, an average starter, who can help eat innings and delay the service-time clocks of other prospects. He can also be traded or fill in for another traded pitcher. Pretty simple

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kurt

    Hill made that trade happen. Whether Chase Anderson is in the future or not if he can improve slightly (read the article below) you can flip him at a later date (see marco estrada). Money should be no object for the brewers (they are far under what they are used to spending). They should go sign Austin Jackson and David Freese to one year deals. Overpay if you have to and eat money when you flip them at the deadline. It isn’t the goal, but in the meantime fans can watch a slightly better product. Rebuilding shouldn’t be about saving money, but getting better by any means possible.

    (chase anderson)


  3. Dale

    Guessing if they wanted Diaz, they had to take Hill. If he does well in his possible platoon with Scooter Gennett, they can maybe flip him and his expiring contract in July.


  4. Michael Bischoff

    Aaron Hill was a salary dump by Arizona. Trade probably doesn’t happen without that component. There’s a greater than 0 chance he doesn’t even get to camp.

    Chase Anderson is, at worst, a decent 6th starter and, at best, a potential 3. What is there to dislike about that? Pitching depth is the most important thing any organization can have, and even bad teams need 6+ guys who they can count on as their starters and fill-in starters.

    The Brewers have traded both Marco Estrada and Mike Fiers within the last year, neither of whom were seen as anything more than back-end starters but have each provided substantive value to their new teams. To me, Anderson is the sneaky good acquisition in this deal, with almost no downside (because even if he tanks, they still got the guy they really wanted in Diaz).


    1. Paul

      And this man wins the prize. Anderson was a guy that people were talking about for a while now as having the ability to be a better pitcher than he has shown. I read one article(after he excelled this year) in which a scout talked about him being his breakout candidate with the D-backs right before the D-backs traded him. I just looked at both as fillers, but they’ve turned out to be more. And Hill provided a nice return. Still sold low on Segura, but things look pretty good so far…


  5. Matthew K

    I am confused by your confusion.

    As others have said HIll was a “necessary evi” in the trade. A salary dump by Arizona at minimum that gives you a potential trade chip (assuming a bounce-back season) and has the potential to provide a little more consistency in the infield via platoons.

    Anderson is nothing more than an innings eater who provides consistency in the rotation for 3 – 5 years. He was not acquired to help in the future when they are projected to compete again, but to help them get there for a relatively cheap cost. You cannot go through a rebuild process without these types of players. A team does not want to bring up their young promising players any earlier than necessary and that’s what Anderson’s role is in the trade.


  6. Brew Crew Ryan

    We’ll know the full value of this trade when they flip a starter in July. It may not be Anderson, but whichever of the group – not named Nelson – that can bring in the biggest haul. And, it’s always good to have vets in the clubhouse and Hill has been very good in Miller Park.



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