News broke on Wednesday night that the Atlanta Braves are in current trade talks with a National League West team about a big trade involving Andrelton Simmons. Immediately all speculation went to the San Diego Padres as they have an obvious need at shortstop.
Yes the need is there, but could the Padres really pull off a deal for the best defensive shortstop in the league? Simmons is still only 26 years old and has a bright future in the league. Last season when the Padres acquired both Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel in two different trades, the team reportedly asked for Simmons and the Braves balked at the idea.
It is not clear why the Braves have changed their minds on trading their stud shortstop. Perhaps they are just entertaining the idea and gauging his value and have no intention on moving him. If they are indeed taking offers on him, there will be plenty of teams that will be in the running to acquire him.
The Braves have a young phenom at shortstop in their Minor Leagues. Ozhaino Albies is the teams #1 prospect, but the 18-year-old is a couple of seasons away from being Major League ready. If the team were to move Simmons, they would clearly need help in the position until Albies is ready in 2018 at the earliest.
So what would the Braves covet from the Padres? They already have Max Fried, Mallex Smith and Matt Wisler. All three were very highly regarded prospects in the Padres organization. The Braves have a need at catcher and have known to covet Austin Hedges, but he alone wouldn’t be enough for Simmons.
There are also rumors that the Braves would like to be reunited with their all-star closer Craig Kimbrel. It is not clear if A.J. Preller would want to deal Kimbrel back to the Braves. That really depends on what the Braves offer in return. If it meant getting his hands on Simmons, then the second year G.M. will surely think about the possibility of a trade.
Simmons has a golden glove in every sense of the word. In his four years of service time in the Major Leagues Simmons has amassed a defensive WAR rating of 15.2. That is truly amazing from such an important position like shortstop. He will save your team runs on a weekly basis. He is truly something special at shortstop.
His hitting has been a work in progress but Simmons has taken some very positive strides. His on base percentage was .321 this season which was a new career high for him. Simmons hit .265 with four homers and 44 RBI’s in 535 at bats. He only struck out 48 times, which is excellent. He just needs to be more consistent at the plate and make better contact. If he made these adjustments, he could easily hit in the .280-.290 range. If the Padres can acquire a talent like Simmons, then the shortstop problem will be solved for a long time.
Simmons is signed until the 2021 season. He is due $53 million over the next five seasons. That is really a team friendly contract, especially when you factor in Simmons is only making $6 million this season and $8 million in 2017. The price tag for a gold glove caliber shortstop will not be cheap. There are reports that the price tag for Simmons would include taking on the salary of Nick Swisher or Michael Bourn. The Padres should not even consider this unless the Braves were also willing to take Melvin Upton Jr. back in a potential deal.
This is all speculation at this point. Nobody really knows how close the two teams are to a deal. Or if there is even a deal to be talked about. We do know that A.J. Preller is an active trader and has no fear when pulling off trades. Last seasons flurry of deals were long rumored before coming true. Could the Padres be looking to shock the MLB community again? Only time will tell.