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Segura's future with Angels now hazy

Segura's future with Angels now hazy

Segura's future with Angels now hazy
ANAHEIM -- When the Angels spent $68.5 million to lock up shortstop Erick Aybar and second baseman Howie Kendrick, it meant stability in their middle infield through at least 2015 -- and insecurity surrounding the future of middle-infield prospect Jean Segura.

Segura, 22, was ranked by MLB.com as the Angels' second-best prospect heading into the season, then turned heads with his performance in Spring Training and was looking like a viable fallback option if the Angels couldn't work something out with Aybar, who avoided free agency by signing a four-year, $33.5 million extension on Thursday.

"What you can't do is build a roster toward the idea of waiting for prospects or players to arrive," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "What you can do is when they arrive, you make room for them to play. Jean's got a unique skill set, in that he has enough snap in his bat that there's other options that can present themselves."

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The more likely scenario, though, is that Segura will eventually become a trade chip, considering he doesn't seem to have a role in the big league club, and his value should only increase with a healthy season of Double-A this year.

Dipoto, however, won't go into that.

"I don't look at players that way at all," he said. "First you identify the players you're trying to pursue, and a trade is a two-way street."

For now, Segura will continue doing the same thing he would've been doing if Aybar had not signed his extension -- continue to play shortstop regularly at Double-A Arkansas, while occasionally playing some second and third base to stay versatile.

"Jean needs reps," Dipoto said. "He needs to prove the ability to play every day."

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Segura has always had promise with his speed, approach, arm strength and sneaky power. But he was initially moved to second base, and hamstring issues limited him to just 52 games in his first season back at shortstop last season.

Because of that, the likelier scenario was that Segura -- with a .240/.296/.300 slash line through his first 13 games of 2012 -- wouldn't have been ready to be the Angels' everyday shortstop for the start of next season.

So, rather than wait on Segura, the Angels chose to act now with Aybar -- and got a pretty team-friendly contract out of it.

"Thrilled to have him, but it's not like we had an ETA on Jean taking over every day at shortstop to begin with," Dipoto said. "He's a very good young player. He's got a tremendous upside. That being said, there's two levels between he and the Major Leagues. We're here to compete and contend for a championship. Erick's the shortstop on this club, and Jean was not a factor at all in our negotiations."

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