Segura focuses on baseball, not contract
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Amid indications the Brewers were beginning an effort to sign him to a long-term contract extension, shortstop Jean Segura said Thursday that he was trying to keep his focus on the field.
"It's good things, but for me, I don't like to put those things in my head," Segura said. "I just want to be able to focus on my game and getting ready for the season."
The just-turned 24-year-old, acquired from the Angels as part of a July 2012 trade package for right-hander Zack Greinke, made the 2013 National League All-Star team in his first full Major League season. Segura batted .294 with 12 home runs, 49 RBIs and a team-high 44 stolen bases, and both sides have expressed interest in exploring an extension.
It was unclear Thursday whether the Brewers and Segura's agent, Joe Klein, had graduated from the exploratory phase to exchanging proposals. General manager Doug Melvin's policy is to not comment on active negotiations, and Klein did not immediately return a telephone message.
The Brewers have struck similar agreements in recent seasons with players like catcher Jonathan Lucroy, pitcher Yovani Gallardo and outfielder Ryan Braun, in which the player gains financial security and the Brewers get cost certainty. For such a deal to make sense from the club's perspective, it typically must cover at least one free-agent season. In Segura's case, that would require at least a four-year extension on top of his current one-year contract. At the moment, he is on track to be eligible for salary arbitration following the 2015 season and is eligible for free agency following the 2018 season.
Klein first revealed last year that the Brewers had made a first offer, but those talks never progressed. He met with Brewers officials in Milwaukee in September, and the sides resolved to resume discussions this spring.
"We're always open to [extension talks]," Melvin said last month. "We've locked up some, some we didn't. We didn't get Prince [Fielder]. We offered him a deal earlier on to buy into free agency, but it just depends what players want. Not a lot of them want long-term deals that will take away free agency, and we like to get deals that have at least a year of free agency if we can."
The further challenge for both sides will be choosing the proper precedent for a middle infielder with between one and two years of Major League service. Last July, the Astros signed second baseman Jose Altuve to a four-year, $12.5 million extension that covers Altuve's arbitration seasons and includes a pair of club options that could cover two seasons of free agency. If those options are exercised, Altuve would earn $25 million over six years, or an average annual value (AAV) of $4.17 million. But Segura plays the premium position of shortstop, so his camp may point to last month's agreement between the Braves and Andrelton Simmons, who received a seven-year, $58 million contract that covers all of the Gold Glove winner's arbitration seasons plus two free agent seasons. Simmons' deal has an AAV of $8.29 million.
The Simmons comparison is clouded by the fact he had enough service time to potentially qualify for an extra year arbitration had he not signed long-term. With one year and 65 days of service entering this season, Segura's arbitration status is clearer.
Segura did not set a firm Opening Day deadline for talks to be resolved, but said once the season begins, he will not seek any updates.
"I don't want to get distracted from the season," he said.