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Milwaukee Brewers: Why Jean Segura Is Untouchable in Trade Talks

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COMMENTARY | Entering the 2013 season, the Milwaukee Brewers weren't exactly sure what to expect from the recently acquired Jean Segura.

The 23-year-old shortstop out of the Dominican Republic was the prize of the Zack Greinke deal executed at the 2012 MLB trade deadline. One of the Angels' top prospects, Segura immediately became the No. 1 prospect in the Brewers' organization, and it didn't take long before he was promoted from Double-A to the big league level.

It made sense, as Milwaukee, much like its first-base situation this season, was having zero luck finding a shortstop that could even play replacement-level ball in 2012, especially after the ACL injury to Alex Gonzalez. Segura was essentially handed the everyday job and closed out the season as the starting shortstop, hitting .264 in 44 games after joining the Brewers.

That number wasn't anything to scoff at, especially as a rookie, and it was better than the .239 overall average that Brewers shortstops had compiled between players like Gonzalez, Cody Ransom and Cesar Izturis.

But entering his first full season at the major league level, would Segura be able to build off his .264/.321/.331 split? After all, he didn't even manage a single home run in 163 plate appearances despite his impressive build. Segura also had some issues with the glove, although he showed flashes of brilliance as well, making highlight-reel plays.

Not only did Segura improve in almost every facet of the game, but he also represented the Brewers at the 2013 MLB All-Star game, edging out players like Jimmy Rollins, Ian Desmond, Starlin Castro and Andrelton Simmons.

His considerably hot start was a key reason why, and as was to be expected, Segura cooled down toward the end of the season. But his numbers still dazzled. Segura hit .294 with 12 HRs, 49 RBIs and 44 SBs. He improved his OPS by 100 points, and that largely had to do with a surprising power surge early in the season.

There are still some issues for Segura to iron out in the field -- he had 15 errors in 2013. But he still improved his fielding percentage drastically from his short rookie campaign and continued to impress with his incredible range and strong throwing arm.

Among the select number of players Milwaukee and general manager Doug Melvin would refuse to part ways with, Segura has to top the list.

Across baseball, there is a shortage of shortstops that both display the type of power and ability to hit for average like Segura. There may not be a single shortstop in the league that possesses the combination of power, speed, fielding ability and athleticism that Segura has, and he will just have turned 24 years old before the 2014 season.

The struggles Milwaukee had at shortstop prior to Segura's arrival is still fresh on the minds of many -- the turnaround the Brewers have recently experienced at that position is nothing short of remarkable.

What's almost just as important as what the Brewers currently have at shortstop in Segura is what they don't have behind him at the minor league level, and that's one of the biggest reasons why Segura is indispensable.

If Milwaukee were to trade Segura, who would play there?

Among Milwaukee's top 20 prospects according to MLB.com, two of them play shortstop -- No. 6 Orlando Arcia and No. 20 Yadiel Rivera. The issue? Neither has played higher than Single-A ball and both would likely be at least three years away from joining the parent club.

That is, assuming they even panned out.

The Brewers' backup shortstop is currently Jeff Bianchi, but they suffer a significant drop-off at the plate and have a less-reliable glove with Bianchi in the game instead of Segura. Looking at both Triple-A Nashville and Double-A Huntsville, there isn't a shortstop on the roster that projects to become even a serviceable big league player.

Even if there are teams asking about the availability of Segura, which is unlikely considering they should realize Melvin's stance on the young shortstop, Milwaukee doesn't figure to be very active in trade talks this winter with any player.

Segura has blossomed into a special player faster than anyone could have expected. Considering his position, talent, age and the Brewers' lack of depth in the organization at shortstop, it's easy to see why Segura is untouchable in trade talks.

Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.

You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_.

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