Tag Archives: jean segura

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:

Hill

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.

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Predicting who gets traded and who stays

We are now at the All-Star break, and for teams sitting at the bottom of the standings, like the Milwaukee Brewers are, it’s a welcome furlough. The four-days off is also usually the beginning of trade season, as teams are either getting ready to stack up for a postseason run or start shedding veterans in order to ignite the rebuilding process. In case you don’t know anything about anything, the Brewers will be doing the latter. At 38-52, they have the second-worst record in Major League Baseball. They are officially sellers.

Milwaukee is currently in possession of a handful of players who contending teams should be calling about. They have veterans with expiring contracts, but they also have players who are on the cusp of their primes, making them extremely coveted.

The Brewers won’t trade their entire roster (even though I’m not against the idea), but it’s safe to say they’ll be sending a few players out of the city known for its beer. So let’s make some predictions.

Players who will get traded

OF Gerardo Parra – Numerous teams are in need of outfield depth (see Kansas City), and with the way Parra has performed offensively, his name is one of the hottest on the block. Of outfielders with at least 300 plate appearances, he has the 13th-highest wRC+, not to mention his on-base percentage of .344 would be his best mark since 2011. Parra is as good as gone.

SP Kyle Lohse – I know his ERA and everything else you can possibly look at is downright terrible, but I still have this feeling that a team is going to take a flyer on him, for the right price, of course. The Brewers won’t get much back and they’ll probably to have pay some of his remaining salary, but with Lohse being a free agent after the season, why wouldn’t a team in need of a back-end starter go after him?

3B Aramis Ramirez – Every team needs hitting and Ramirez can still provide that at 37 years old. He’s a notorious slow starter and this season was definitely no exception. His numbers are finally beginning to improve, however. After producing a .272 wOBA in June, he crushed the ball in July and finished the month with a .366 wOBA. He, like Lohse, is in the last year of his contract (and career). He’s a rental who a team will trade for.

1B Adam Lind – He’s been the best player on the Brewers in 2015 and is probably the best hitter on the market. He’s already put up 2.1 WAR while creating an impressive 43% more runs than league average. Lind could bring back a fairly decent haul, especially compared to the other guys I listed above. If a team is looking for a high OBP player who hits home runs, Lind is the man for the job.

RP Francisco Rodriguez – I’ll admit I was wrong about Rodriguez. I thought he would be equally as bad as he was in 2014, but as it turns out, he’s been lights-out. His strikeout rate (30.8%) is back in line with his career norms and he’s no longer getting bit by home runs. He would be a very valuable add to a bullpen in need of a high-leverage reliever. The only thing stopping a team for making a play for him is his big contract. He’s owed $7.5 million in 2016 with a $6 million club option in ’17 ($2 million buyout). That’s a lot of money for a closer who’s been up and down in the past few seasons. Still, I think the Brewers will trade him yet again, but this time, there will be no reunion between the two.

Players who won’t get traded

OF Carlos Gomez – The Brewers should trade him, but I think they’ll wait another year. They need to be able to sell tickets in 2016, in spite of the talent-less roster they’re sure to put together, and people will pay to see Gomez. I feel like that is a terrible reason not to trade someone, especially since his value now is higher than it will be next year, but it’s what the Brewers will presumably do.

C Jonathan Lucroy – Lucroy’s going to stay in Milwaukee as well. The Brewers will have to be unbelievably blown away in order to trade a great catcher with a team-friendly contract like Lucroy. I think Lucroy will be involved in a mid-season trade next season, but not this one.

RP Jonathan Broxton – Making the playoffs and doing well once you’re there is nearly impossible without a quality bullpen. Basically everyone is looking for bullpen depth. By old-school numbers Broxton has been less than quality in 2015, which is why I don’t see him being moved. The Brewers would get next to nothing in return for him. so maybe their mindset is, why bother?

SS Jean Segura – I struggled with Segura. I can easily see him being traded, seeing as how Orlando Arcia is coming for his job. But which team is going to give up what the Brewers demand for him? That’s the big question here. Segura is a young and defensively talented shortstop who hasn’t hit much to date. What’s he really worth? Because that’s unknown, I think Segura stays put.

Could a Jean Segura for Steven Matz trade happen?

Before I start, let me just say I highly doubt a Jean Segura for Steven Matz trade will happen, so please don’t think I’m delusional. It would be an unbelievable trade for the Brewers and a less than stellar one (to put it nicely) for the Mets. There’s a very small chance that New York’s front office would ever green light a trade of this nature. However, even though there’s a small chance, there’s still a chance. And the Mets don’t really have a history of making the smartest acquisitions. Furthermore, they apparently already have interest in Milwaukee’s young shortstop.

According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Brewers and Mets have engaged in trade discussions centered around Segura and third baseman Aramis Ramirez.

Morosi makes no mention of Matz, so this is just pure speculation on my part. I’m honestly just curious if a trade of this magnitude is plausible.

Let’s start with Milwaukee’s side of this trade.

The Brewers are hopefully about to begin a massive rebuild. I mean, if they had any sense at all, they’d trade as many players as possible on the current 25-man roster. Things are bad in Milwaukee, and the next few years will be nothing to smile at either. The time to start over is now. And starting over begins with acquiring young players who can make an impact in the future.

Teams can’t win without pitching, and the Brewers farm system, in terms of arms, is weaker than my pinky toe. The few pitchers I’m excited about, like Kodi Meideiros, are a years away from sniffing the major leagues, which is fine, considering the Brewers are now looking to the future. But the need to load up on young arms is crucial, and Matz (24 years old) could be one of those arms. If it’s going to take the Brewers three years or so to finish the rebuild (three years is on the short side), Matz will just be entering his prime years and his value will be through the roof.

Baseball America ranked left-handed Matz as the Mets’ second-best prospect behind Noah Syndergaard entering the 2015 season. He made his major league debut on June 28, and before going on the disabled list with a partial tear in his left lat muscle, he was doing quite well for a rookie hurler. In his two starts, he struck out about 27% of batters and allowed just a .167 batting average on balls in play. That played into a 1.32 ERA, but a 4.25 FIP and 3.97 xFIP. He walked quite a few hitters and gave up two home runs in his 13.2 innings.

But because his major league stats screams “small sample size,” we can’t and shouldn’t put too much merit into them. Instead, we need to look at how he performed in the minors. In 90.1 innings in Triple-A, Matz pitched to a 2.19 ERA and a 3.44 FIP. Like in the majors, he issued too many free passes (8.6 BB%), but that was really his first run-in with a plethora of walks. He walked just 14 hitters in 71.1 innings in Double-A in ’14, so it’s a bit too early to know if he’ll have control problems as a major-league pitcher.

Matz features a plus fastball and a plus changeup with a curveball thrown in there. When he threw his changeup, he made hitters swing-and-miss 14.3% of the time while up with the Mets. The Brewers would love to have someone of his caliber launch the rebuild.

As far as Segura goes, the Brewers shouldn’t really have a problem unloading him. They have stud shortstop Orlando Arcia, who is figured to be one or two years away, waiting and killing Double-A. And because Segura has not hit a lick with the Brewers (.296 wOBA and 83 wRC+ in his career), I wouldn’t be surprised if the Brewers are ready to move on from him.

Clearly, this trade favors the Brewers, but there are a few reasons why the Mets might want to take the risk and ship off one of their best prospects for a former highly touted prospect in Segura. The first one being that the Mets are already stacked with top-notch pitchers. They have Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard. Not to mention they have a high-strikeout guy in Rafael Montero in the minors.

New York has pitchers to spare, but what they don’t have is a shortstop. When comparing Segura and current Mets’ shortstops Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores, there’s not much difference in their hitting profiles. They’re all below-average hitters who don’t get on base all that often. However, Segura is the superior defender at short over Tejada, has more upside despite being the same age as Tejada and older than Flores, and comes at a very cheap contract price with three more years of club control.

And who knows? Maybe the Mets believe that Segura will turn into a league-average hitter. He did hit consistently well in the minors, and 2014 was a lost season because of the death of his infant son, so we have to take his lackluster performance with a grain of salt. Segura still has a lot of time to live up to his billing. Upside is the keyword here.

If the Mets did send Matz to Milwaukee, my guess is that New York would demand more than just Segura in return. And they’d probably want more than just a throw-in player. Maybe a player like Tyler Thornburg or Corey Knebel would be enough for them, although I doubt the Brewers would part with a young, high upside guy like Knebel. But if the Brewers want someone like Matz, they’ll need to part with a player similar to who I just mentioned.

Segura alone won’t be enough.

Flipping Luis Sardinas might be in the cards

The Milwaukee Brewers acquired Luis Sardinas as part of the trade that sent Yovani Gallardo to Texas. And with Scooter Gennett being demoted to the minors, along with Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera doing very little positive things at the plate, Sardinas was called up maybe earlier than what people expected. In 32 games in Triple-A, Sardinas posted a .324 OBP and created 10% fewer runs than league average. In other words, he didn’t do much with the bat that warranted a promotion; however, his Triple-A numbers as a player in the Brewers’ organization were better than they were as a Triple-A player with Texas.

After a hot start with the big-league club, Sardinas has slowed down and has become the player most scouts have him pegged as. He’s good with the glove (although Defensive Runs Saved has yet to see that), but very below-average offensively. He has yet to walk this season, and is striking out at a 23.8% clip. Plus, his lack of power is unsettling.

Sardinas is a shortstop by trade, but unluckily for him, the Brewers already have one of those in Jean Segura. And no, the Brewers are not about to give up on Segura. Milwaukee also has a stud shortstop in Double-A right now in Orlando Arcia. Arcia, by the way, is currently taking the league by storm. ESPN’s scout guy Keith Law recently ranked him as baseball’s 20th-best prospect. He’s so talented that Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak suggested the Brewers might move Segura to third base in order to make room for Arcia. They might not need to do that if Arcia can man second, but as of now, that’s not in the plans.

Sardinas is capable of handling second base, which makes him a bit more valuable, but do the Brewers really want three infielders — Segura, Arcia and Sardinas — who have absolutely no pop or power in their bats? I would be very surprised if the infield shaped up like that in the future. The Brewers have a hard enough time as it is scoring runs.

That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised if Sardinas is wearing a different uniform come August.

It basically comes down to this: who has the higher ceiling, Sardinas or Gennett? The Brewers will probably trade one of them, if not both, and I think Sardinas would offer the greatest return. He’s younger, is a better defender and can switch-hit, meaning there’s no need to platoon him like a team would and has done with Gennett. Milwaukee would, however, need to demand a power-hitting third baseman or a second baseman with at least gap power. When Aramis Ramirez retires after the season, the Brewers will be in desperate need of someone in the infield who is capable of producing runs.

Sardinas might be the ticket that grants that wish.

Jean Segura’s season of ground balls

If teams brought in a fifth infielder from the outfield whenever Jean Segura came to the plate in 2014, he would have scuffled even more than he did.

A fifth infielder? I’m crazy, right? Well, did you know that Segura hit the ball on the ground 58.9% of the time? Only three National League players — Ben Revere, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon — had a higher percentage. And all of those guys had much higher BABIPs than the Milwaukee Brewers‘ shortstop. Overall, Segura had a BABIP of .275, but only a .224 BABIP on ground balls. Both of those are well below league average.

Here’s Segura’s ground ball rate month-by-month.

AB GB%
March/April 90 70.7%
May 111 53.8%
June 102 55.8%
July 78 59.7%
August 60 52.8%
September 72 61.0%

He started and ended the season very poorly in terms of ground ball rate, and hit the ball on the ground consistently during the middle four months. But just to be clear, none of those percentages are good. They are way too high for someone with such a low BABIP. If he was able to hit grounders for base hits, it’d be a different story.

In 2013, his first full season in the majors, his GB% was virtually the same (58.7%). However, he hit .279 on grounders — 55 points better than this season. There are two big factors that affect batting average on balls in play; defense and luck. It also takes a while to stabilize, so we really can’t tell what Segura’s BABIP will look like in 2015. His BABIP his first two seasons are just too different to know what to expect.

But, I will say this. Segura cannot rely on ground balls if he wants to be a successful hitter in the major leagues. He will obviously never be a power hitter, but he must start hitting line drives. He hit .628 when he hit a line drive last year. Granted, he only hit 79 of them, but still, that’s an extremely high average, and line drives mean more hits than ground balls.