USA TODAY Sports Weekly
D’Backs like Segura’s potential
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart cited Jean Segura’s offensive potential as the key part of the weekend deal from his club’s perspective, particularly after sending outfielder Ender Inciarte to the Atlanta Braves in the deal for starting pitcher Shelby Miller.
“I think we all had a little bit of discomfort in where we were offensively and had been seeking to add a little bit more offense if we could,” Stewart told news reporters on a conference call.
“Jean Segura has been a pretty good offensive player in the past. He’s been an All-Star and is a very good defender. And he’s a guy we can hit in the top of the order if we choose to. With an opportunity to make a move like that, we felt that we would do it.”
In addition to Segura, the Diamondbacks also acquired right-hander Tyler Wagner from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for right-hander Chase Anderson, second baseman Aaron Hill, infield prospect Isan Diaz and cash.
Segura hasn’t torn the cover off the ball the past two seasons, hitting a combined .252 with a .615 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS), but he does have a standout year on his résumé, hitting .294 with 12 homers and 44 stolen bases in 2013.
Though Stewart said there will be competition for playing time during spring training, he intimated Segura might have the leg up to be the club’s everyday shortstop, a job held last season by light-hitting Nick Ahmed.
But club coaches and officials have routinely referred to Ahmed as arguably the best defensive shortstop in the National League, and his OPS was 18 points higher than Segura’s last season.
Stewart also mentioned second base as a potential landing spot for Segura but later added that he expected Segura to get the bulk of his playing time at shortstop during spring training.
The deal also gives Arizona the infield depth to potentially make another deal, a possibility Stewart did not dispute; he said another GM had already texted him to explore the idea.
“It does give us flexibility, and also the dollars saved give us some flexibility as well,” Stewart said. “You guys know we’ve been looking at middle relievers. We’ve been looking at closers. We’ve been looking in those areas to try to get better. If there is a deal out there to be made we have to look at it.”
Piecoro writes for The (Phoenix) Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK.