The long-expected trade of Aaron Hill finally happened, and it also cost the Diamondbacks Chase Anderson and shortstop prospect Isan Diaz. However, the return doesn't seem too bad. The Diamondbacks made a move to improve the middle infield, acquiring a rebound candidate in Jean Segura, who had an All Star season in 2013 but has struggled since, to put it mildly. If it wasn't for his decent fielding and above-average baserunning, he'd be right about at the same level as Chris Owings.
The Diamondbacks also acquire Tyler Wagner. If that name sounds familiar, there's a good reason. He made his MLB debut against the Diamondbacks on May 31st, joining a long list of Brewers pitchers by giving up a home run to Paul Goldschmidt. (Interestingly enough, Chase Anderson started that game for the Diamondbacks.) He worked four innings, officially, although he was removed before the last out of the fourth. He gave up five runs in all, but didn't figure in the decision, as the game went on approximately forever, before Vidal Nuno took the loss in the 17th. Wagner was sent back down immediately afterwards, but was a September call-up and made two more starts, doing better but taking the loss in each. Wagner was the Brewers' 15th ranked prospect according to MLB.com. He actually projects to be about the same as Chase Anderson. But I think that Wagner gets used in the bullpen, if he is part of the big club. He was a reliever in college, and the D-backs have a bit more of a need of bullpen arms than starting prospects at this point. Still, he's the same level of prospect as Anderson, and is younger and has another year of control.
Segura, though, is the big piece of this trade. First, the savings: I'd be very surprised if the Diamondbacks aren't sending money to Milwaukee as well, as Segura is due to make $2.6 million next year, versus Hill's $12 million. Like Hill, Segura is a reclamation project, having posted an OPS+ of 70 or lower both of the last two seasons. Unlike Hill, he's a lot younger (he'll turn 26 in March) and fast. In his career, he has 96 stolen bases, and stole 25 at over 80% last season. He could be used as a leadoff hitter, although this isn't advised, given his poor OBP. But he is fast, and has 70 career starts in the leadoff spot. He also has 24 career triples, despite playing in Miller Park, where triples aren't extremely easy to come by. He will be put into a position to succeed in Arizona, although the leadoff spot probably isn't best. If he can get on base, he more than replaces any speed lost by trading Ender Inciarte. He also has a decent amount of home run power. If he reaches his full potential, he could be a 20/20 guy, but that's not real likely. With him being almost certain to change positions (barring another deal, and apparently anything is possible) who knows how his defense will be?
Isan Diaz has a decent chance to be the best player involved in this trade. He was recently listed on KATOH's top-100 prospects, and was the Diamondbacks #14 prospect on MLB.com. But he's still several years away, and the Diamondbacks do have plenty of middle infield prospects. With Jack Reinheimer, Brandon Drury, Jamie Westbrook, and of course Owings and Ahmed, there are plenty of pieces so Diaz shouldn't be missed. Of course, we said the same thing about Dansby Swanson, and there will come a time when too many middle infield pieces have been traded. Just ask the Braves, who traded away so many (including Drury and Ahmed to the Diamondbacks) that they wanted Swanson back.
Considering what Hill costs, and how he has performed, this trade could wind up being a good deal. It is almost certain some money will be changing hands (or else this would be a steal.) How much hasn't yet come out. If the Diamondbacks are sending $6 million or less, I'd say this is a good trade. If Segura doesn't perform well, he won't cost much in arbitration, and given his poor performance the last two years, he'd have to really tear the cover off the ball in order to cost very much. Anderson was unlikely to have a rotation spot this year anyway, and Wagner fits the bullpen better. Losing Diaz might hurt, but this wasn't a bad deal. The Diamondbacks got a couple of young, relatively cost-controlled pieces that have the capability to contribute right away, one at the position of greatest need. There was really no way to expect more.