The Cubs and the shortstop Andrelton Simmons agreed to a one-year deal that will pay Simmons $4 million plus incentives, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (by Twitter). Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) was the first to report that the two sides were getting closer to an agreement. Simmons is represented by ISE Baseball.
One of the best defensive players of all time, ankle injuries led to an unusually poor glove season for Simmons in 2020, but he looked much more like his old self last season with the Twins. Simmons posted a +16 Outs Above Average and +15 Defensive Runs Saved on 1091 2/3 innings at shortstop last year, though the UZR/150 (-1.1) metric takes a gloomier view of his performance.
While Simmons’ age (32) and recent history of ankle issues are undoubtedly a concern, it certainly would seem like he should still be a defensive asset in the middle of the Cubs’ infield. Such quality defense will be especially important as it’s been three years since Simmons was even an average league hitter, with only a .250/.302/.323 slant line to show for his last 1,002 appearances in the league. marble since the start of the 2019 season.
Glovework has always been Simmons’ calling card, but in the few seasons (2017 and 2018) where he provided both a strong bat and his excellent defense, Simmons looked like one of the most valuable players in the game. Whether he can get back to that overall form remains to be seen, but the Cubs would be satisfied if he could just provide his usual stellar work at shortstop.
Simmons will fill the defensive void left by another Gold Glove-winning shortstop in Javier Baez, which was distributed to the Mets last summer as part of the Cubs’ trade deadline fire sale. As much as the Cubs tore things up before the deadline, however, the team has been looking to rebuild things to make at least one attempt to compete in 2022, adding Marcus Stroman, Wade Mileyand Yan Gomes before locking.
Of course, Chicago had been linked with another top shortstop in Carlos Correathe logic being that the Cubs could now afford the big price Correa asked after clearing so much future salary Out of books. The Simmons deal could most likely indicate the Cubs pulled out of the Correa contest, and yet, as reporter Sung Min Kim speculateSimmons’ $4 million salary”is not necessarily starting money.“Theoretically, the Cubs could still sign Correa and then use the two players on a time-share basis at shortstop, with the other perhaps moving to second base or third base.
This would allow the Cubs to juggle Nicholas Madrigal Where Patrick Wisdom (the other starting starters in the field) in and out of the lineup depending on the situation, and the DH spot is also now available for Chicago to work with in 2022 and beyond. Madrigal’s health is also a bit of a question mark, as he underwent season-ending hamstring surgery last summer, although January reports indicated that the young infielder was making good progress in his recovery. Nico Hoerner had been penciled into the starting shortstop job, but with Simmons now in the fold, the Cubs can continue to experiment with Hoerner as a multi-position player.