Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

andrelton simmons bravesLet’s wake up to an interesting GM Meetings rumor that developed late yesterday and then overnight involving the Atlanta Braves, whose plans for this offseason aren’t entirely clear. Last year at this time, it was similarly unclear if the team was trying to win or trying to rebuild (they dealt players for young arms, but they also signed Nick Markakis and later dealt for Hector Olivera). They went on to lose more games than any team outside of Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

Now, it sounds like they’re considering a lot, including possibly dealing ace glove man Andrelton Simmons. Here’s how things played out on that rumor:

Now then. A few things:

1.) Keri is not typically a news breaker, but he is excellent. Thus, if he reports something like this with the word “deep”, it’s more than just a very superficial conversation going on. Hence the huge volume of follow-up reports.

2.) The Padres targeting Simmons makes a great deal of sense given their obvious need there at shortstop, and that’s something to follow since we know there has been past interest in guys like Starlin Castro and Javier Baez.

3.) The Dodgers? Is Corey Seager not going to stick at shortstop? Many thought that would be the case eventually, so maybe this is a signal.

4.) Simmons, 26, is an elite contact guy, but has seen his power drop off over the last three years from interesting to non-existent. Without a fundamental change in his game, he’s going to be a near zero at the plate (72 and 82 wRC+ the last two years). But you’re not getting him for his bat, of course, you’re getting him for the glove. Do you get a little nervous that his UZR/150 and DRS have both dropped each of the last two years from the year before? In 2013, he was so otherworldly with the glove that it made him an incredibly valuable player regardless of the bat. The last two years, he’s been extremely good with the glove, but it’s made him only a pretty-darn-good overall player. At his age, when quickness can fall off, I’d be nervous that we’re going to see a defensive decline setting in already. He’s set to make $6M, $8M, $11M, $13M, and $15M over the next five seasons. Frankly? I can see why the Braves are listening now, because Simmons is a guy whose value could go negative as soon as mid-season 2016. None of that is to say he can’t continue to be a very valuable player – I’m just saying that’s the very real risk.

5.) If the Braves do deal Simmons, I’d think their chances of dealing someone like Julio Teheran would increase. The Cubs reportedly had interest in Teheran back at the Trade Deadline.

We’ll keep following this to see if something happens, but I’m kinda hoping a direct competitor of the Cubs gives up a ton to get Simmons, because I think there’s a pretty significant gap between his perceived value and his actual value.

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