In the two months since David Stearns took over as general manager, the Brewers have traded Francisco Rodriguez, Luis Sardinas, Adam Lind, and Jason Rogers. All of this is a process that allows Stearns to jettison veteran parts (and not-so-veteran parts) that are not key members of the future, whether that be because of age, contract status, or talent. The natural question, then, is who will be next.
There are two clear favorites for this role: Jean Segura and Khris Davis. Both are big-league-quality players, and neither one appears to have a long-term future with the Brewers. Segura is a fringe-average shortstop who is likely to be replaced on an everyday basis by Orlando Arcia in the coming year (and who the Brewers already acquired a temporary replacement for in Jonathan Villar), and Davis is a corner outfielder who is only suited to be the short side of a platoon. If the Brewers are to maximize value, Segura should be traded to allow Arcia enough opportunity to play whenever he’s ready. And Davis is a viable puzzle piece for a playoff team, but the Brewers are not in a situation to use that type of role player.
As a shortstop, Segura has more trade value; however, that is part of the reason I believe he will be traded later. Stearns is clearly on a mission to make room on his 40-man roster and to move the spare parts for lottery-ticket prospects. Davis fits that bill more than Segura does. Teams will always be able to trade starting-caliber shortstops, but that is not so much the case for players such as Davis. This same logic applied to Lind and Rogers — as the rest of the teams fill out their respective benches, there is progressively less need for platoon corner infielders. Everyone signs their own, so there is no need to spend anything to acquire one.
For shortstops, though, this is not the case. Shortstops are painfully difficult to find; thus, many teams should hypothetically be willing to go out of their way to get one. One team to illustrate this phenomenon is the Mets, whose current rotation of Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada at shortstop is unspectacular. If, in February, the Mets decided they wanted to upgrade, Segura would be a logical choice — but there is no danger that they will fill that spot prior to a potential trade, as there simply are not enough quality shortstops for everyone to have one.
But Davis does not fill a similar scarcity. Corner outfielders with some power are relatively common; funnily enough, Chris Davis — who just signed with the Red Sox — has the ability to perform in such a role. Additionally, not every team needs one. Some teams, of course, have full-time outfielders so a part-time player such as Davis who cannot play center are not needed. This makes trading Davis before rosters are finalized a more urgent matter.
The Lind, Rogers, and Rodriguez trades make it clear that Stearns realizes this fact. There is no big hurry to trade Segura; as injuries take their toll on the 2016 season, Segura may in fact be more in demand when the trade deadline comes and Arcia proves ready to be in the big leagues. Davis, though, has no clear role on the 2016 roster. Ryan Braun will play one of the corners, and the Brewers would presumably like to get Domingo Santana consistent at-bats in the other one, which would result in limiting Davis’ playing time. But with rosters filling every day, the Brewers likely need to move quickly.