Mets thoughts: Why Jean Segura makes sense

By Rich Sparago

The New York Mets will begin the second half of their season (as defined by the All Star Break) at 47-42. They are two games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East. They are also one game out in the NL wild card race. Unlike in recent seasons, the Mets will begin the second half in contention.

They’re in contention on the strength of dominant starting pitching, and a solid bullpen. However, the Mets’ offense is close to the bottom in all key categories. The Mets are in need of an offensive upgrade. This is virtually universally accepted among anyone who watches this team play.

Sandy Alderson has indicated that the Mets will not make numerous moves as the trading deadline approaches. He further intimated that any offensive help will not come in the form of an outfielder. Therefore, one can surmise that the trade target (if there is one) will be an infielder, or utility player-type bench piece. It’s highly unlikely that Alderson will consider trading Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, or Steven Matz (who is currently on the DL).

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Therefore, if Alderson is going to trade from his pitching depth, he’ll likely offer Bartolo Colon or Jon Niese (and perhaps a mid-level position player). So what can the Mets get in return in the scenario above?

One name that has been tied to the Mets is Jimmy Rollins. That move makes some sense, since the Dodgers are hurting for starting pitching, and Rollins is in the last year of his contract. However, Rollins is struggling and aging, so any pitching sacrificed to obtain him may be too much. Another name linked to Mets in rumors is Jean Segura of the Brewers. This potential deal may make sense for several reasons.

Segura is having a pedestrian-type year, slashing at .273/.304/.346. He has 12 stolen bases (after having stolen 44 bases in 2013 and 33 in 2012). Segura is not known for his defense. His defensive runs saved this year is -1, and his UZR/150 is -4.2. In total, he is somewhat below average defensively, and he does not get on base enough. However, he does bring speed, and a significantly better batting average than the Mets’ incumbent, Ruben Tejada.

Tejada is slashing at .237/.316/.339. Defensively, Tejada’s DRS in 2015 is -1 (same as Segura’s), and his UZR/150 is 4.8. Tejada does not run well, and provides little power. A quick comparison would give an offensive nod to Segura on the basis of his average and speed, and a defensive nod to Tejada for his consistency. So why should the Mets be willing to sacrifice a pitcher to bring Segura in?

Unlike Rollins, Segura is under team control through 2018. He also is earning the major league minimum, so he’s affordable. Most importantly, Segura can move into the lead off spot (though he is not ideal). This will enable the Mets to drop Curtis Granderson, who has been productive with 13 home runs, into a run-producing spot in the order. This would lengthen the lineup, and provide protection to Michael Cuddyer and Lucas Duda. The addition of speed and better offense at shortstop to the lineup, as well as the ability to drop Granderson in the order, are sensible reasons to acquire Segura.

Is Segura a perfect player? He is not. However, the Mets are not willing to sacrifice top-quality pitching, the type of bait needed to bring in a more significant bat. Segura fits the team mold of being under control contractually. He would bring a needed dimension to the offense, lengthen the lineup, and allow Tejada to become a reserve infielder, a role to which he is better suited.

Jean Segura represents the type of move the Mets can make. He would make the team incrementally better. Will he be enough to vault them into the playoffs? He may or may not be. But at this point, small steps forward will be welcome.