As reported by Ken Rosenthal on twitter, the Atlanta Braves have been shopping prized defensive wizard shortstop Andrelton Simmons, and although no deal is imminent, multiple teams have called about the Braves’ stud infielder.
If John Hart and the Atlanta executives decide to deal Simmons this winter, the New York Mets would certainly be a good fit. Not only did GM Sandy Alderson contact Atlanta about Simmons in July, but the Mets obviously have a gaping need in the middle of their infield with the likely departure of second baseman Daniel Murphy, and the incompetent defense of Wilmer Flores at shortstop. Simmons, a Gold Glove award winner in 2013 and 2014, and Wilson Glove award winner in 2015, has established himself as one of the best infielders in baseball and would be a major upgrade for any team that acquired him. He has also improved on the offensive end, hitting .265/.321/.338 with an OPS of .660 this season. That is much improved from Simmons’ .244 batting average and brutal .286 OBP in 2014, but it’s worth noting that he is only 26 years old, and what makes Simmons attractive is the shortstop is under club control until 2020 at a very team-friendly price.
For the Mets, Simmons would be a huge addition. Just a couple of weeks back in the World Series, the Mets’ infield made two errors in Games four and five that cost them the series. Second baseman Daniel Murphy misplayed a ground ball in Game four, a casualty that hasn’t been rare. The Mets made a total of 88 errors in the regular season alone, which ranks 12th among the MLB. Wilmer Flores has accounted for 14 of those errors at shortstop, and the Mets’ front office has have doubt about his arm strength. When the Mets decided to move Flores to second base mid-season, he was much more effective, and in fact did not commit one error at that position. He also hit .305 with a .331 on-base percentage as a second baseman this season, much improved from hitting .248/.283 as a shortstop. This could attest to Flores feeling more comfortable at second base, a position the Mets will try to insert him in for the future. Acquiring Simmons would allow the Mets to move Flores to second base, creating a major upgrade not only defensively, but offensively as well. And for a club not known to spend much money, Simmons is due to make just $6 million in 2016, $8 million in 2017, $11 million in 2018, $13 million in 2019, and $15 million in 2020, which is very club-friendly considering the skill-set Simmons brings to the table.
Since the fit is clear, one may be wondering why Atlanta would deal Simmons? And how can the Mets get him? Well, currently the Braves do not have many valuable pieces to deal, and as Matthew Schoettler wrote, Atlanta could receive a peak value for Simmons by trading him now. As for what the Mets would give, I’d imagine that a package of prospects including Zack Wheeler, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, among other prospects such as shortstop Gavin Cecchini would be a deal that could work for both teams. However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports the Mets inquired about Simmons this morning, but were told Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom were the asking price. But it is clear that if that is the asking price for Simmons, no deal will get done (it’s way too high). So, it’s possible to imagine the price for Simmons will drop.
But as Atlanta continues to seek what return they could get for their defensive stud shortstop, it’s clear that if he is traded, the Mets and Braves could match up for a potential deal.