Ever since Robin Yount traded his infielder's glove for an outfielder's mitt after the 1984 season, the Milwaukee Brewers have been searching for a shortstop. From Ernie Riles and Dale Sveum to the likes of Royce Clayton and Yuniesky Betancourt — while being teased by Gary Sheffield, Pat Listach and J.J. Hardy along the way — the Brewers have trotted 18 different Opening Day shortstops out since Yount made the switch. So when the claim is made that one trade could have brought a young shortstop who can easily become the franchise's best shortstop since Robin Yount, the idea isn't that far-fetched simply because, well, he doesn't have very far to go. A little over three months into his time with the Brewers, Jean Segura has proved a couple of things. He passes the eye test, not only with his ability to play the game, but his unflappable confidence for such a young age. His potential to be Milwaukee's long-term solution at shortstop makes the trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels one of the best in general manager Doug Melvin's tenure. Who is Milwaukee's best shortstop since Yount? Even that is debatable — if you consider an argument between four average candidates a worthwhile debate. It probably isn't Mark Loretta, though he had the best batting average. He moved around too much and only really spent two years at shortstop. How about Jose Valentin, who started five times on Opening Day for the Brewers? He hit .240 with just 90 career home runs in eight years with the team. Jose Hernandez made the All-Star team in 2002, but also had to sit out the last few days of the season to avoid breaking the single season strikeout record. Maybe it's J.J. Hardy. Like Segura, Hardy was a top prospect and started five times on Opening Day in Milwaukee before being shipped out for Carlos Gomez. And while Hardy had his moments with the Brewers, he never fully developed during his time in Milwaukee. Alcides Escobar had talent and is realizing it with Kansas City, but was traded for Greinke before he could make an impact in Milwaukee. The Brewers paid a heavy price to acquire Greinke. It's just how these things work. But unlike the Angels, the Brewers were going to have Greinke for more than two months, as he pitched a full season and into July of the next season in Milwaukee. Escobar is breaking out with the Royals, while outfielder Lorenzo Cain has struggled to stay on the field, right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is currently out of baseball, and the Royals used pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi as a key piece in an offseason deal to acquire top outfield prospect Will Myers from Tampa Bay.
Greinke-Segura trade already paying dividends
Fox Sports Wisconsin | May 4