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MLB Storylines: Braves continue extensions, lock up Simmons

MLB Storylines: Braves continue extensions, lock up Simmons
Andrelton Simmons hit .248 with 17 HR, 59 RBI and .692 OPS in his first full season last year. (Photo: AP)
February 21, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

Here are the stories from Thursday, February 20th.

Top Stories

  • The Braves are at it again.  On Thursday, Atlanta agreed to yet another contract extension with a member of their young core, signing shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a seven-year, $58 million deal.  Simmons, 24, will be under Atlanta’s control through the 2020 season, and the Braves were able to buy out all of their shortstop’s arbitration years as well as two free agent years.

Tribe News

  • After offseason surgery on his left hamstring, outfielder Michael Bourn is able to participate in all Spring Training activities.  Despite being 100%, manager Terry Francona has said that he plans to be cautious with Bourn’s playing time early in the Cactus League schedule.
  • Francona also said that relievers Cody AllenBryan Shaw, and John Axford are locks for the bullpen, so they will likely see less action in Cactus League games than other pitchers who are battling for a roster spot.
  • Matt Capps is bothered by a sore right shoulder and has been shut down for at least two weeks.

News and Notes

  • The Red Sox and left-hander Chris Capuano have agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.25 million.  The contract also offers incentives that could reach $5 million.  Capuano is expected to be the long reliever in the Boston bullpen, while also working as the first pitcher called upon to transition into the rotation if an injury or ineffectiveness occurs.
  • Multiple reports of late have stated that the Blue Jays now appear unlikely to sign a free agent pitcher.  Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos seemed to confirm those reports, saying: “As we sit here today with what the current cost would be we feel better with what we have here internally.”  MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reported that Anthopoulos went on to say: “As the offseason has progressed, we've felt better about the internal options, especially the young guys.”
  • ESPNNewYork’s Adam Rubin said that he has heard that the Mariners are likely to trade an infielder before Opening Day.  Rubin noted that Brad Miller and Nick Franklin are the likely candidates to get moved, with Franklin being the more likely of the two.
  • Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has an important appointment coming up in March that could determine when he’ll be able to play this season.
  • According to WEEI’s Alex Speier, David Ortiz and Red Sox officials met on Thursday to discuss the DH’s contract status.
  • George A. King III of the New York Post reported that 38-year-old Yankees outfielder Alfonso Soriano is considering retiring after the 2014 season.

User Comments

Hermie13
February 21, 2014 - 4:16 PM EST
ugh...my bad on last post, should obviously read $58M for Simmons (not $78M).
Hermie13
February 21, 2014 - 4:15 PM EST
As far as the Simmons extension....seems like I'm the only one that isn't a big fan of it (from what I've seen on the internet and such).

Will like it more if he ends up qualifying for Super Two status next winter (or would have if not signed)....but if he fails to get that (and it is by no means a sure thing he would have)....they are paying him $5M over the next two non-arby years...$4M more than they would have. Then giving him $6M in what would be his first arby year? He is without a doubt the best defensive SS in the majors right now...but sadly defense doesn't get you paid in arbitration. Plus no guarantee defensive metrics will like him as much as they did in 2013 (Trout wasn't worse this year defensively for example but metrics dropped him a ton).

In the end the Braves are paying Simmons $30M in his pre-free agent years...I find it hard to believe he'd have gotten close to that going year-to-year. Now maybe his bat goes from below replacement level to all-star level..he is young and never know with young kids. But seems like a big gamble for a guy who's OBP was under .300 last year....

Consider his career offensive numbers and Chisenhall's for a second...

Chiz: .244/.284/.411/.695 w/ a .303 wOBA, 92 wRC+, 23 HRs, 4 SBs, 73 runs, 74 RBIs, .166 ISO...in 203 games and 682 PAs

Sims: .256/.304/.400/.704 w/ a .308 wOBA, 94 wRC+, 20 HR, 7 SBs, 93 runs, 78 RBIs, .144 ISO...in 206 games and 840 PAs

Fangraphs's "offensive rating" has Simmons as a -5.9 player...has Chiz as a -5.8 player.

Offensively they pretty damn similar. Sure Simmons K's a LOT less but he hasn't found a way to turn the fewer K's into anything of value.

But maybe he's so much better running/stealing bases? Well he has 7 total as shown...to Lonnie's 4. Maybe he just doesn't steal and good in other ways running? Well...fangraphs has his base running (BsR) at -0.1....Lonnie's is +0.3. Negligible difference but can't really say Simmons is better...

At the end of the day it all boils down to Simmons's defense....it is off the charts good, yes, agree there. But did they really need to give him $78M?!?

Not saying the deal was bad...they know their players and maybe they see something that says his bat is going to really break out and then $78M may end up looking like a bargain. Did have a very low BABIP in 2013 so maybe he rebounds...
Hermie13
February 21, 2014 - 10:46 AM EST
He could wait til after June...but I still don't see it. Players on competitive and missing out on that much time can't be easy. Plus he'd have to throw side sessions...what happens if he gets hurt while waiting 2.5 months? Then he's really screwed. Some team likely comes out and eventually signs him. IF the market drops enough Yanks could get involved even with all the money they spent. Wouldn't rule out the Mariners still either (lost out on Capuano and Iwakuma is hurt). O's already lost their 1st round pick...rumor is they could be interested in Santana still.
Joe Chengery
February 21, 2014 - 1:06 AM EST
While it would seem unlikely, would someone be willing to sign him after the QO draft pick compensation goes away (June?)? Unless what Walter said occurs, don't know if anyone wants to touch Santana with the QO compensation attached unless he really takes a very low offer, which you'd think would have happened already (as it did for Jimenez).
Walter
February 21, 2014 - 12:33 AM EST
If the Bluejays are not interested in signing a major FA pitcher in Santana and the Mariners are not showing interest the question is how far will the market fall for Santana?

The only way he could end up with decent contract if there is major injury and a team that desperately needs starting pitching.

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