COMMENTARY | The Milwaukee Brewers were 44-54, 14 games out of the division lead and 10 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the final wild-card spot.
The trade deadline was fast approaching, just four days away. Zack Greinke would be a free agent at season's end. All of a sudden, a difficult decision wasn't actually all that difficult -- the Brewers had to trade Greinke.
Now, it was just a matter of general manager Doug Melvin getting as much as he could in return for the former Cy Young Award winner. The Texas Rangers showed interest, but star prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt were off limits. On July 27, 2012, Milwaukee found a willing partner in the Los Angeles Angels, who sent over three prospects in exchange for Greinke.
The player who headlined those minor-league prospects? Shortstop Jean Segura.
On August 6, after Segura went 13-for-30 in eight games with Double-A Huntsville, the Brewers called him up to the parent club. Milwaukee had dealt with inconsistency at the shortstop position all summer long, especially after Alex Gonzalez tore his ACL early in the season. Segura was only 22, but with a 48-59 record, Milwaukee had nothing to lose and made the Dominican its everyday shortstop.
Following his promotion, the Brewers went 35-20 and crept back in the playoff race. Segura hit a respectable .264 in 2012 with Milwaukee while also showing flashes on defense and entered the offseason as a bona fide starter heading into 2013. If that wasn't enough, Segura won the Dominican Winter League batting title and hit .367 in the Cactus League during spring training.
In 22 games this season, Segura has hit .349, the best mark among eligible players on the team as well as among all shortstops. That's allowed him to move from batting eighth all the way up to the two-spot in front of Ryan Braun, which can only benefit Segura moving forward. Because of his frequent trips to first base, Segura also has seven stolen bases to add to his resume.
While Segura did commit 10 errors in just 43 games last season, he has been spectacular defensively in 2013. He's only committed one error thus far, and it feels like he robs the opponent of a base hit at least once every game. To think Segura was once a second baseman with the arm he possesses is hard to fathom.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a Brewers player who is impacting games more than the 23-year-old Segura when you combine his speed on the basepaths, his range, throwing arm and hitting ability.
Considering Segura is making just $480,000, is under Milwaukee's jurisdiction for many years to come, and was acquired in exchange for a player who the Brewers would have lost at some point last year regardless, it's a no-brainer -- Segura is the best bargain player on the Brewers, and one of the biggest bargains in all of baseball.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who contains an unhealthy amount of knowledge about Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline and as a featured columnist among other sites and publications.
You can follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_.
- Sports & Recreation
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Zack Greinke