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Braves expected to extend Andrelton Simmons next

Feb 16, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Two Getty Images

Over the last two weeks, the Braves have been hard at work, locking up their core for the foreseeable future. They signed first baseman Freddie Freeman for $135 million over eight years, outfielder Jason Heyward for $13.3 million over the next two years, starter Julio Teheran for $32.4 million over six years, and earlier today inked closer Craig Kimbrel to a four-year, $42 million deal. Next up on the list? Shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

Simmons, 24, will be eligible for arbitration starting in 2016 and can become a free agent after the 2018 season. The Braves are perfectly aware of the value Simmons brings defensively, but as Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes, the two sides don’t see eye-to-eye on Simmons’ offensive ability going forward. Thus, extension talks — which aren’t expected to begin in the immediate future — will focus on Simmons’ ability to consistently make hard contact.

Simmons hit six home runs in 1,042 plate appearances in the minors, and three in 182 PA with the Braves in 2012. To the shock of many in the baseball world, he broke out with 17 homers last season. Unfortunately, that was the extent of his offensive contributions. He hit .247 and posted a .296 on-base percentage.

  1. realgone2 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      The only thing I can think about when watching that is how ‘roided up wrestlers are.

      • realgone2 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        Yeah I think we should ban them from the hall of fame

  2. therealgrande - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Beating a dead horse by saying Simmons is great defensively but he did show some signs he could perform offensively last season. He was at .270 mid May and up to .260 in June. But other than that, he doesn’t do much. Not very fast, 6 SB’s last year amongst other things.

    Depending how the offense fairs this year with him will probably decide whether they want a more offense minded SS.

    • Ben - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      Simmons is the best shortstop in baseball, and there’s a pretty reasonable argument to be made that his 2013 was the finest defensive season by a shortstop ever.

      Doesn’t much matter what he does with the bat, he’s a huge asset. And the fact that he’s marginally competent is huge, on top of virtuoso defense.

      • therealgrande - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        He is not the best shortstop in baseball. Defensively? Sure he is. But all around, no way. Tulo, Hanley, Reyes are all better.

      • gibbyfan - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:18 PM

        best defensive shortstop right now maybe……best of all time –I don’t know how old you arw or who youv’e seen play but trust me–I think that’s a bit of a stretch.

      • wpjohnson - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        Andrus, the guy the Rangers stole from the Braves, is the best shortstop in baseball.

    • 78mu - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:16 PM

      Pete Kozma had a good May too. Hard to do a long term contract on hope from a small sample size.

      • Kevin S. - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        Pete Kozma hit .267/.330/.311 with meh defense in May. What’s your point?

      • paperlions - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:23 AM

        Let me fix that.

        Kozma had a great September 2012: .333/.383/.569

        Yes, over 26 games Kozma had a wRC+ of 154

  3. Ben - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    So they haven’t spent Yankees money yet, but when was the last time the Braves went on a spending binge like this? I thought their TV deal meant they didn’t have much money to work with in the first place?

    • gmagic9044 - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:49 PM

      I think the money is coming from perceived/expected revenue of the new Cobb County stadium.

      Most of these deals are back loaded to account for that.

  4. realgone2 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Simmons is the best since Ozzie that I’ve seen. I as braves fan am beyond shocked by these recent developments.

  5. kingscourt25 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    Could be a steal if they sign him now. He had an .800 OPS in the 2nd half. That plays well with that glove.

  6. spyder9669 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    Brandon Crawford is just as good defensively and has a cannon arm the best in the league. There’s no argument so don’t bother trying.

    • oldschoolnflman - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:35 PM

      Tulo, Crawford then Simmons.

    • gmagic9044 - Feb 16, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      I’m all for homerism and biases, but this is a tad ridiculous (and maybe you are being sarcastic?).

      Crawford had 2 Defensive Runs Saved last year.
      Simmons? 41. 41 Runs Saved.

      And as for Crawford’s “rocket arm”. Simmons was nearly drafted as a pitcher due to his 95+mph fastball. Not many SSs can boast that…

      But, if I was a Giants fan, I’d argue that Crawford was a good SS too.

      • paperlions - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:26 AM

        Calling that a tad ridiculous is a tad of an understatement, and by “tad”, I mean enormous.

  7. wpjohnson - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    These signings have John Hart’s fingerprints all over them. It certainly hasn’t been the work of Wren. Wren would try to trade all these guys for Teixeira again.

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