The Atlanta Braves just traded Andrelton Simmons to the Angels for two pitching prospects and Erick Eybar. Here are my thoughts.
Shortstop is the most difficult position to play on the diamond. To have a great shortstop on your club is extremely valuable. To have the best shortstop in baseball on your club is invaluable. I’ll even go further by saying, to have the best shortstop in the history of the game is REALLY invaluable. I believe Andrelton Simmons is the greatest defensive shortstop in the history of the game. Yes. Better than The Wizard.
Ozzie Smith was my childhood hero. When I was in little league, I was a shortstop and wore number 7 because of Ozzie. I have an Ozzie Smith signed baseball glove. I have four books about Ozzie Smith. I have almost every Ozzie Smith baseball card. It took me three seasons to say this… because it’s a monumental mouthful, but… Andrelton Simmons is better than Ozzie Smith.
I’ve read several mind numbing columns today about how Andrelton isn’t valuable offensively, and therefore is not very valuable. These columnists should consider switching sports, because baseball is something they don’t have the slightest grasp of. No, Simmons is not a .300 hitter. But, neither was Ozzie Smith. You don’t have to hit .300 if you play the toughest position on the field perfectly.
Ozzie’s first three seasons: .258/.211/.230
Andrelton’s first three seasons: .248/.244/.265 (plus 27 more homeruns than Ozzie)
Furthermore, I regard the position of shortstop differently than all other positions. I believe that it’s the most difficult to play and the most valuable on the field. Therefore, to be the best at it makes you, in my opinion, more valuable than the best pitcher in baseball. What I’m saying is, I believe Andrelton Simmons is more valuable than David Price or Zach Greinke.
Simmons has led the NL in Defensive WAR for three consecutive seasons, the first time any defender has led his league three years in a row since former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones did it during 2001-2003.
Simmons ranks sixth among active leaders in career Defensive WAR at 15.2, despite having less than four full seasons in the majors. Every player ranked ahead of him has played at least 11 seasons, and every other player in the top 15 has played at least eight seasons.
Trading Andrelton Simmons right now for anybody is a mistake. Trading Andrelton Simmons is not comparable to trading Kimbrel, or Heyward or Gattis. He’s in another league. He’s the best at his position, AND he was under very affordable club control through 2020. To have the best defender in baseball under cheap club control for the next 6 years is a miracle.
Everybody has a price, no matter who they are. Unless you’re Andrelton Simmons.
With Andrelton, you know what you’re getting next year. And, it’s very believable that he’ll continue doing it for the next 10 plus years. With pitchers, you have no idea what you’re getting from year to year.
If you have the best shortstop in baseball, you don’t trade him. Especially for pitching.