Andrelton Simmons could be traded, even before the general manager's meetings end Thursday in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Braves have had discussions with several teams at the meetings. Talks could lead to a deal quickly, or like any other trade discussion, it might take a while. But the possibility and perhaps even the probability of Simmons being traded is there. The Braves may now use the leverage they have that Simmons is available to drive up the price even more.
Fans may panic at the idea of another big-name Braves player being traded, but they shouldn't. In fact, they should embrace the possibility of the Braves getting good market value on the player on their roster with the best trade value.
Simmons should fetch a significant return. He's regarded as the best defensive player in the game at any position, even though he did not win the Gold Glove Award for some reason this season. He's under control through 2020. Simmons is a career .256 hitter, with a career .304 on base percentage.
The Braves could take advantage of a team that values defensive metrics by dangling Simmons. The fact he's under control for five more years at an average of $10.6 million per season makes it easier to control his financial cost compared to overpaying for an Ian Desmond-type free agent now on the market.
When the rumors broke Wednesday night, it was a NL West team that was rumored to be the potential suitor. Buster Olney tweeted Thursday morning the Angels might be interested in Simmons. The Angels' top five prospects, according to MLB.com, are all pitchers. Might the Braves also be interested in outfielder Kole Calhoun? Would Andrew Heaney (or Sean Newcomb, their top prospect), Calhoun and two marginal prospects be enough?
Joel Sherman also mentioned the Dodgers, who have Corey Seager ready, but he could also play third base. The Braves made two trades with the Dodgers last year, so there have already been a lot of talks exchanging names. The Braves also made two major trades last year with the Padres, but their farm system has been depleted and is not as strong as it was a year ago. Remember though that executive Chad MacDonald is now in Atlanta's front office. MacDonald was with San Diego and knows many of their prospects, including top prospect, outfielder Hunter Renfroe.
Jon Heyman is now mentioning the Mets again. It's no secret the Braves and Mets discussed Simmons last summer. The price would be sky high if the Braves traded Simmons inside the NL East.
This could be a major trade. The Braves should be able to acquire a significant MLB-ready player and a major prospect or two for Simmons. As with any move, expect a pitcher to be included. The Braves have placed a priority on acquiring pitchers in all major trades since John Hart and John Coppolella took over a year ago.
The Braves should trade Simmons. They need additional talent, and Simmons is a player that can get them multiple players in return - significant players in return. They can find a shortstop. It won't be Simmons, but it will be someone that can play the position. Remember, Ozzie Albies may be only a little more than a year away, and the Braves believe he can be a long-term option at shortstop.
To have a player with this sort of value, the Braves have to take advantage of the market and improve the organization with a trade of Simmons. The return should be significant.
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