The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t just get rid of Aaron Hill in the trade they made with the Milwaukee Brewers, they also added Jean Segura. But a shortstop until now, it looks like the 26-year old Dominican is going to need to adjust to play at second base.
Segura has never been much of a defensive standout, playing nothing but shortstop for the Brewers and Angels since beginning his Major League career in 2012, including 4109 innings of action. His fielding was just 96.9% last season and when the trade happened earlier in the offseason, Keith Law of ESPN wrote at least Ahmed can play the heck out of shortstop, whereas Segura is below average, if you’re charitable; he’s a second baseman masquerading as a shortstop, if you’re not.
Law was referring to Nick Ahmed, who isn’t much of an offensive player (.226 batting average, .269 OBP last season), but seems to have the shortstop position locked down. The Diamondbacks invested most of their money this offseason in pitching with Shelby Miller and Zack Greinke, which means a stronger focus on defense where there’s a huge difference. And moving Segura to second base isn’t such a bad idea considering the other options.
Segura batted .257 last season with a .616 OPS. The Diamondbacks would like him to go back to his 2013 form (12 home runs, .294 batting average, .752 OPS) but either way, with Chris Owings batting just .227 at second base last season, the Diamondbacks feel less and less risky about moving Segura to second base. He is listed on the team’s website as the team’s #1 SS when you go look at the depth chart, but what manager Chip Hale says matter more.
And what does he say? Basically, that at second base, Segura is going to be an everyday player. At shortstop? Probably not, even if Ahmed can be terrible to nonexistent offensively. Segura might get back to shortstop at some point during his career but right now, he’s going to have to buckle up and get used to a new spot on the field in order to play the amount of time he wants to. He’ll be making $2.6 million in 2016, and is eligible for arbitration in 2017. He becomes a free agent in 2019.