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Re-evaluating the Zack Greinke trade

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Following the trade of Jean Segura on Saturday, it's time to take a look back at the original trade that brought him to Milwaukee. Even though that trade looks like a failure now, there are several reasons why it is not.

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Shortly after the Jean Segura trade happened on Saturday, I started to see a few people talk about the trade of Zack Greinke to the Angels back in 2012. Some people laughed at the fact that Greinke and Segura will now be playing on the same team after being traded for one another. However, others used the opportunity to look back and evaluate the trade. One person called it "one of the worst trades in Brewers' franchise history". It's harsh words, but it's understandable where they come from. Jean Segura was expected to be an All-Star level shortstop, but has barely been replacement-level the last two seasons. Johnny Hellweg struggled through injuries over the last two seasons and is now out of the organization (he signed a minor-league deal with the Padres this offseason). Only Ariel Pena remains, and it's questionable if he will end up being a solid major-league pitcher.

Despite all of this, it doesn't mean that the trade was a failure. In fact, it's still too early to fully say whether it was a failure or not. There are several reasons why that deal was not a failure, and why it could still end up being a great trade for the team. Let's take a look at the reasons why the Brewers came out ahead in this trade and why they could still get more value from it.

1. Zack Greinke was leaving Milwaukee after the season regardless of whether he was traded or not.

Once the 2012 season was done, Greinke would be gone. It's important to remember that. There was no chance that the Brewers could meet the asking price for Greinke in free agency. There was hope at the start of 2012 that the Brewers might be able to compete and get into the playoffs. However, at the end of June, they were 35-42 and eight games out of the division lead. It was even worse at the end of July, as they had fallen to 45-55 and fifteen games out of the division. There was no reason to hold onto Greinke any longer. Getting anything of value for him would be a positive.

2. The Brewers did get some value out of Jean Segura.

With the trade of Alcides Escobar for Greinke prior to the 2011 season, the Brewers had a hole at shortstop. Yuniesky Betancourt filled the spot for the 2011 season, but there was still a hole at the position once the season was done. Alex Gonzalez came in as a free agent, but was lost in April for the season after he was injured. After that, the Brewers bounced between Cesar Izturis, Cody Ransom, Jeff Bianchi, and Edwin Maysonet, before the Brewers acquired Segura.

Between Segura's first game as a Brewer on August 6, 2012, and the end of the 2015 season, Segura played in 471 out of 535 games at shortstop for the team, which accounts for 88% of the games during that time. He recorded a 3.5 fWAR during that time, though all of that basically came during the 2013 season, when he was an All-Star. Across the other 2 1/2 seasons, he was worth an even 0.0 fWAR. While that's not going to help the Brewers compete, his presence did cover a position of need. Without him, the Brewers are potentially piecing together the shortstop position for a while (or worse if they bring back Yuniesky Betancourt to be the starter). Now, with Orlando Arcia getting ready to take over at shortstop as soon as 2016, the need for Segura was almost done. This trade was one more chance to get some value from Segura (which will be covered a little later).

3. Ariel Pena is still developing.

While Pena wasn't the star of the Greinke trade, it was still another pitching prospect that had potential. So far, the minor league stats haven't been impressive. He posted a 3.83 ERA in Double-A, and then a 4.35 ERA in Triple-A. The strikeout rate is strong (8.9 K/9 in the minors), but the walk rate is also high (4.4 BB/9). The most encouraging sign may be the short time he spent in Milwaukee in 2015. In 27.1 IP over six games, he recorded a 4.28 ERA, with a 8.9 K/9 and a 4.6 BB/9. It's not star potential, but it is evidence that the results could carry on into the majors.

4. There's now a "second generation" to consider following the Jean Segura trade.

As mentioned before, the Brewers managed to get one last piece of value out of Jean Segura before Orlando Arcia makes his debut. With the acquisition of Aaron Hill, Chase Anderson, and Isan Diaz, the Brewers now have a "second generation" in the Greinke trade. Hill can fill in at second and third base for the 2016 season, and Anderson can slot into the fifth spot in the rotation. The key part of the trade is the acquisition of Diaz. He immediately slotted in to the #15 spot of the MLB.com top prospects list for the Brewers. While he is still several years away from the majors, he could end up being a key player for a future team. Without the Greinke trade, this trade does not happen. The success or failure of this trade should also be factored into the Greinke deal.

While it's frustrating that the Brewers didn't get a star player out of the deal directly, calling it a failure or one of the worst trades in franchise history is also off the mark. It was a deal that the team had to make, and they have got some value out of it. Plus, the trade of Segura could end up yielding even more in the future of the Brewers. It may not be the expected results, but it still could be good for the Brewers. It just may take more time than expected for everything to play out.