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Milwaukee Brewers: So About That Jean Segura Trade

stevenjewell
May 11, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Jean Segura (2) in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
May 11, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Jean Segura (2) in the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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Some Milwaukee Brewers fans are feeling pretty salty about the trade that sent Jean Segura to the Diamondbacks.

It was inevitable. With all the trades that the Milwaukee Brewers have participated in since this time last year, someone was going to start out hot with their new team. In this case, it is the divisive Jean Segura, who last posted a 62 wRC+ (league average is 100) with the Crew in 2015.

In the early going of 2016, Segura has more than doubled that offensive value, bumping his wRC+ to 137 on the back of a .351 batting average (.383 BABIP). Segura also has as many homers already in 2016 as he had in all of ’14 and needs just one more to match his ’15 total.

Thus, some fans are convinced the trade was a poor one. And if we’re allowed to use hindsight and small samples as the ultimate barometer for good and bad trades, then sure. And yes, Jean’s peripherals are improved, he’s hitting the ball harder more often, and he looks like he could finally be the above-average hitter the Brewers held out for.

But let’s think about that for a minute. Segura’s improvements, at least in part, have been attributed to a new batting stance, which was reportedly conceived by former major leaguer Luis Mercedes over the past last winter.

The Milwaukee Brewers had been waiting for Segura to “figure it out” since he cooled off from the first half of 2013, when he was electric. Eventually, something was going to give, and the Brewers sent him packing. It now just looks like bad timing.

How much longer could the Brewers have been expected to wait after Segura slashed .252/.286/.329 in 1400+ plate appearances from July 2013 to October 2015?

Another important acknowledgement in all of this is the Brewers other 2015 trades. If Segura’s early successes in 2016 mean that sending him away was a disaster, then the Brewers’ recent trades overall were fantastic.

This is thanks to the noteworthy struggles of Carlos Gomez, Adam Lind, and Khris Davis. And while Gerardo Parra has performed well in 2016, the combined performance of these four hitters –plus Segura– has been poor.

Since the beginning of 2016, these five players have walked in 2.7% of their 658 plate appearances, struck out in 22%, slashed .266/.293/.409, and earned -0.6 fWAR. And while I think early statistics are prone to change, this is the premise some fans are running with.

So again, if Segura’s early success means his trade was a sham, then the overall failings of these hitters means General Manager David Stearns is a genius. After all, by that logic, he dumped some “terrible” players. And these early struggles are not limited to hitters.

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Francisco Rodriguez and Mike Fiers have struggled so far in 2016, and while Tyler Wagner‘s solid 10 innings pulls their numbers into a more respectable territory, they have still combined for less than 7 strikeouts per 9 innings and a 4.31 FIP.

And here lies the problem. We don’t know if any of these trades are good or bad because of how the season has shaken out as of mid-May. And looking back at a trade in this way is a silly idea anyway, thanks to the power of hindsight.

Thus, gut reactions to trades are typically where we as fans can find the best analyses, because hindsight isn’t a factor. Was the Brewers’ C.C. Sabathia trade a stupid and/or short-sighted one because the Player to be Named Later turned out to be a future Silver Slugger in Michael Brantley? And perhaps more to the point, would Brantley have even been a success with the Brewers?

But anytime the conversation veers toward  philosophy, it’s typically my cue to log off.

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