Could the Mets be a Match for Brewers’ Jean Segura?

The New York Mets are off to a surprisingly hot start at 15-6 this year, sitting atop of the National League East as we come to the end of the first month of the 2015 baseball season. If the Mets can keep up the stellar pitching they’ve had to this point, they should be in contention for a postseason spot throughout the course of the year.

Our beloved Milwaukee Brewers, on the other hand, are off to a franchise worst 5-17 start. Even after a win today, the possibility that the Brewers are able to climb back into contention during this season is pretty slim. I’ve been rather vocal about my support of a possible Brewers’ rebuild, and more and more it appears that the Brewers are on the verge of a fire sale.

The Metropolitans have been in the market for a shortstop for the better part of the last two seasons, being linked to players like Troy Tulowitzki and Starlin Castro, though neither of those deals ever came to fruition. New York currently employs 23 year old Wilmer Flores as their everyday shortstop. Though Flores is off to a solid start at the plate this season with a 109 OPS+ through 68 plate appearances, he is considered well below average defensively and hasn’t hit quite as well as he did in the minors (.648 OPS through his first 124 career games).

Earlier today, ESPN’s Buster Olney speculated that the Mets, who are still looking to upgrade at shortstop, could be viable candidates to deal for the Brewers’ Jean Segura. After a tough season last year, Segura has gotten off to a strong start at the plate, posting a .296/.321/.383 slash while increasing his line drive rate after making some offseason adjustments at the plate. Segura, still just 25 and an All-Star during the 2013 season, will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after this season. He can become a free agent after the 2018 season, and has already declined a long-term extension from the Brewers.

Segura could make plenty of sense for the Mets. He is a more proven commodity for New York, who are figuring that they will be in contention throughout the season. Segura is much more highly regarded in the field than Flores is, and as Olney notes, would immediately make the Mets infield defense better. Though he has made some errant throws in the early going of the season, Segura was credited with four defensive runs saved in over 2500 innings at shortstop from 2013-14. Flores was charged with -3 DRS in 443.1 innings at short last season.

Given how apparent the success of Segura’s adjustments at the plate have been in terms of his greatly improved line drive rate and ability to utilize the opposite field, he should be able to produce a roughly league average OPS year in and year out. Combine this with his baserunning skills and defense prowess at a premium position, and you’re looking at a consistent 3-4 WAR player for the next several years. While I’d be wary to trade a young, talented veteran like Segura (who can also play second base), he is reportedly a hot commodity around the league and could fetch a strong return for Milwaukee if he is made available. The Brewers are also relatively deep at shortstop throughout the organization. Hector Gomez is a relatively capable backup/stop gap for the big league club, while Luis Sardinas in AAA and Orlando Arcia in AA are both slick-fielding top prospects off to hot starts at the plate.

Fortunately for Milwaukee, the Mets are not short on prospects, another reason why this deal could make sense for both sides. While there’s little reason to believe the Mets would part with Noah Syndergard or Kevin Plawecki in a Segura deal, someone like the 23 year old Steven Matz could be available, given the Mets wealth of talented young arms. Matz was drafted all the way back in 2009, has already undergone Tommy John surgery in his young career, and didn’t pitch at any level until 2012, but was ranked as the #65 prospect by MLB.com before the season. The lefty, who features a mid 90s fastball and a plus changeup, could figure into the Brewers’ starting rotation as soon as next season. For a system short on corner infield prospects, adding someone like 1B Dominic Smith or 3B Jhoan Urena should be enough to complete a deal.

The Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets are two teams heading in very different directions that can greatly help each other out on their respective journeys. The Mets, who are looking to contend this year after several rebuilding campaigns, would benefit immediately from the addition of shortstop Jean Segura. For the Brewers. moving Segura to the Mets could bring in some strong prospects as they begin to rebuild toward their next era of success.