Andrelton Simmons: Time to Trade Star Shortstop?


Andrelton Simmons is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, but should the Atlanta Braves shop him around this offseason?

Andrelton Simmons makes highlight-reel plays almost every day while manning shortstop for the Atlanta Braves. The Braves drafted Simmons in the 2010 MLB Draft (70th overall), and the star shortstop made his MLB debut in June of 2012. Simmons played 49 games in 2012 and batted .289, with an impressive 2.1 WAR in his brief exposure to the MLB. Also, Simmons owned a 103 WRC+, the only time in his career to have a wRC+ over 100.

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In 2013, Andrelton Simmons entered the season as the Atlanta Braves’ everyday shortstop, and he played in 157 games in his first full season. Simmons flashed power that few expected, belting 17 home runs while driving in 59 RBI, both career-highs. Simmons took a huge step forward at the plate in 2013, despite posting a slash-line of .248/.296/.396. The spike in hitting, along with his elite fielding, led to Simmons notching a WAR of 4.5, the highest mark of his career.

Following his breakout 2013 season, Simmons regressed in nearly every aspect of his game, both offensively and defensively. In 2014, Simmons played in 11 fewer games than in 2013. Andrelton Simmons’ home run total diminished from 17 to seven in just one year’s time. Also, he scored only 44 runs, nearly half of the total runs he scored in 2013 (76). Simmons posted a career-low WAR and wRC+ in 2014, 2.0 and 72 respectively.

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Andrelton Simmons looked to get back on track in 2015, hoping to put his worst season to date behind him. Simmons’ power remained absent in 2015, posting the lowest total of his career with a disappointing four home runs. Despite the power-outage, Simmons managed to improve his slash-line in each category, improving from 2014’s .244/.286/.331 to .265/.321/.338. Also, Simmons posted a career-best 8.2 percent strikeout rate (K%). The improved offense allowed Simmons to post a 3.2 WAR, but his 82 wRC+ needs work.

It is no secret that Andrelton Simmons is the best defensive shortstop in the National League; however, Brandon Crawford is in the mix this season. Over his brief career, Simmons turned into a one-dimensional player. His glove overshadows his bat, and his bat continues to struggle even as Simmons gains more experience. Simmons’ best offensive aspect is that he rarely strikes out, owning a career 9.2 strikeout rate.

Due to Simmons’ lack of offensive production, should the Atlanta Braves consider trading him? Andrelton Simmons is arguably the worst offensive player in the starting lineup; however, back-to-back Gold Glove Awards warrants good trade value. Simmons is likely a favorite to win again this season, and any contender would love to add a defensive wizard like Simmons to their roster.

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One team that comes to mind is the San Diego Padres. The Braves and Padres have an extensive trade history, and the Padres do not have a solid shortstop on the roster. The Padres used Jedd Gyorko as the team’s everyday shortstop down the stretch-end of the season, and he regularly played second base before that stint. Although the Braves raided the Padres’ farm system last offseason, the Padres still have nice prospects to offer in return for Simmons.

If John Hart makes Andrelton Simmons available on the market, it is hard to image a team that would not inquire about the two-time Gold Glove Award winner, especially if a contender is in need of a shortstop. Simmons’ value seems to be slowly diminishing, so the Braves might be wise to see what offers are out there. It would take a hefty offer to land a defensive guru like Simmons, but anything is possible with Hart at the helm. Hart inherited Simmons as his shortstop, so do not be surprised if Simmons’ name comes up in trade discussions. 

Next: Ben Zobrist: Atlanta Braves' Future Utility Player?

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