I want to make one thing clear: I’m a big Andrelton Simmons fan. His glovework is exhilarating and he is undeniably the best defensive shortstop in the game. I’m not saying I want the Braves to necessarily trade Simba, I’m just saying you have to look at the possible return.
My argument in this scenario stems from the following tweet:
Sources: Mets asked re:Andrelton Simmons, but the conversation went nowhere with ATL, which basically placed an unreachable price tag on him
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 27, 2015
This was back around the time in which the Braves shipped two expiring veterans in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to the Mets. The talks clearly did not stop there, but they could not get anything else further done. Simmons joins Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran as the only players left from the 2014 roster. There has been nonstop turnover, and the fact that Simmons is on board means the organization clearly holds him in high regard. Why not? He is the best defensive shortstop in baseball, after all.
I think the two parts of Olney’s tweet that stick out the most to me are that the Braves did place a price tag on Simmons. This means that though they are asking for king’s ransom, Simba is not untouchable. I think another thing that should be noted is that the Mets lost interest… fast. Are the Braves waiting on a team to get desperate enough to meet their demands?
The Braves had a high price tag, but there was indeed a price tag. With the exception of Freddie Freeman, he is the best trade chip we have. With Simmons’ team-friendly deal, you could make the argument he is the best trade chip we have.
Simmons is what I like to call a winning piece. In some ways he is a luxury. Most nights he will be hitting late in the order, and he is what he is with the bat. I think a lot of people figured Simmons had a ton of room for improvement offensively after he hit 17 homers in 2013. He even received MVP votes that season and garnished a reputation as one of the best shortstops in baseball. With this being said, however, Simba is a guy who is going to hit somewhere between .240-.260 with a handful of homers to go with his defense. A lot of people are optimistic that Simmons will expand his offensive game since he’s just 25, but I’m not sure he will. If he does, however, he will be a superstar in this league. Even if he doesn’t improve with the bat, he is still a valuable piece.
The Braves plan on being competitive fairly soon, but they really need consistent bats. However, teams that are trying to compete sooner than later may get desperate enough to meet what are probably unrealistic demands from the Braves’ brass. Shortstop is a shallow position in today’s game, and Simmons is far from an expendable piece. The Carlos Correa’s of the world don’t just come around. The price has to be right, and an overpay could be a franchise turning move for the Braves.
Simmons is part of a young core that John Hart is trying to build around, but the team would be foolish to close the door on moving Simmons with the value he carries. Simba is a fan favorite and could very well end up being a career Brave, but people felt the same way about Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel, too. The return has to be right, but Simmons could emerge as a strong candidate to be dealt this winter whether the fanbase realizes it or not.