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  • What Should the Twins Do With Andrelton Simmons?


    Lucas Seehafer PT

    When the Minnesota Twins signed veteran shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a one-year, $10.5 million contract this past January they did so with the intention of him not only serving as a stopgap before top prospect Royce Lewis made his much anticipated jump to the Majors but also to shore up a Twins’ defense that desperately needed an upgrade over what Jorge Polanco was providing.

    Image courtesy of Scott Taetsch, USA TODAY

    The deal at the time was widely respected, neither panned nor necessarily praised, as it was widely understood that the team’s primary target to replace Polanco, Marcus Semien, who ultimately signed with the Toronto Bluejays, simply did not want to come to Minnesota. Additionally, Simmons had been the definition of a generational talent defensively since his debut in 2012, so there was quite literally no better option on the market if improving the team’s defense was a top priority.

    Simmons has largely lived up to his defensive reputation on his way to compiling 10 outs above average, according to Baseball Savant, placing him third in all of MLB. However, he’s committed six errors this season, three each throwing and fielding, and his fielding percentage of .968 would be the second-lowest of his career if the season ended today. (He registered a .960 fielding percentage during the COVID shortened 2020 season.) Even still, it would be difficult to argue that a better defensive shortstop exists in the Majors as of this moment, which alone justifies his hefty eight-figure salary. 

    But while Simmons’ glove hasn’t taken much of a dip, his bat has more or less fallen off of a cliff and it’s not as if his offensive “prowess” was akin to the peak of Mt. Everest. 

    The 10-year veteran is currently averaging career-worsts in the following key offensive categories:

    • Exit Velocity: 83.5 mph (peaked at 88.2 mph in 2018)
    • Launch Angle: -3.1 degrees (peaked at +9.5 in 2019)
    • Hard Hit%: 25.6% (peaked at 36.1% in 2018)
    • Whiff%: 20.1% (low: 11.8% in 2015)
    • K%: 17.8% (low: 7.3% in 2018)

    Simmons owns a .311 batting average on balls in play and has barreled only one(!) of his last 223 batted balls over the last two seasons. If anything, some good luck is preventing his numbers from looking worse. Simply put, Andrelton Simmons, who was never exactly known for his intimidating presence at the plate, is a complete non-factor offensively, even more so than usual.

    To recap: Simmons has been solid defensively, but is showing some signs of decline, he’s having by far his worst season at the plate, and he isn’t signed beyond this season.

    So, the question then becomes: What should the Twins do with Andrelton Simmons as the summer progresses? The answer is fairly straightforward, but trading Simmons may be more difficult than it sounds in theory.

    For starters, most teams in playoff contention, the kind of team that would be the most likely to swing a trade for Simmons due to his age and defensive capabilities, are already pretty set at shortstop, something touched on by Matthew Taylor here. A quick glance over most MLB rosters that are hovering towards the top of the division and wild card standings doesn’t reveal much in the way of obvious fits for Simmons. 

    One potential fit could be the Chicago Cubs, but only if they decide to move on from Javier Báez during the season. Báez isn’t likely to return to Windy City next summer, so shipping him out for prospects may make sense, even as the Cubs stand in second place in the NL Central with a 34-27 record, 0.5 games out from the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.

    Similarly, the St. Louis Cardinals make some sense as current starter Paul DeJong is currently on rehab assignment and was batting .177/.277/.371 before going on the injured list. But DeJong is only 27-years-old and is under team control for a few more years.

    However, if Simmons is traded, to a contender or otherwise, expect the return the Twins get in exchange to be rather unimpressive. The most they could likely expect in return is a low-mid-level prospect, perhaps someone akin to infielder Seth Gray or pitcher Chris Vallimont in the Twins’ system (i.e. a prospect with potential, but glaring flaws).

    Andrelton Simmons is not in the Twins’ long-term plans and was only ever brought on to fill a one year gap before Royce Lewis’s arrival. While Lewis may not appear until late in 2022 after tearing his ACL earlier this year, Simmons’ overall disappointing season makes it wise for the team to move on from him by before the arrival of August. Just don’t expect much in return.

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    The Twins do not need any more AA or AAA career minor league players. While I was steadfastly opposed to adding Simmons last winter because a healthy Polanco is a key for the Twins, the best course of action now is to stay with Simmons unless a useful player is offered in a trade. If a prospect with real talent can be pried loose, go for it, but otherwise the Twins need to stop adding useless players.

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    Falvey and Levine’s first choice of Marcus Semien is playing much better than the pivot signing of Simmons. I don’t know what the budget’s going to look like after this losing season. My hope would be going after someone in the (for now) loaded SS free agent class. Hell, we may have another chance at Semien again! 
     

    It’s probably time to stop thinking about Lewis as the future SS on the team. Now the timing lines up for him to take over CF when Buxton is a FA if he lives up to the potential hype. 

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    Polanco, similar but different move to 2B is much like Mauer's initial move to 1B, it takes time to adjust. He has flashed real ability at the position but it still takes time to settle in.  He needs time, he's already flashed.

    Simmons was a smart signing at the time. His offensive  numbers, lest we forget, improved the past few seasons. And again, less we forget, were well above average or his career numbers when the season started. Of course, regression was in order. But coming off his IL time, his offense has been at an All time low and I'm not sure the defense has been quite the same. Has he lost interest? Or is he just struggling?

    I still like the plan of Polanco being a 2B with Arraez being a versatile utility player. But it does kill me amongst everything that has gone wrong in 2021m that Galvis with the Orioles looks like he could have been the better signing. (Sigh) I ABSOLUTELY believe Lewis has everything needed to be a quality ML SS with premium offense and at least decent if not good defense. But we can't deny he's at least a year away now due to injury.

    I could be WAY WRONG, but it just feels like Simmons isn't a "fit". As if he and the Twins just don't mesh well on a "personality" level. And maybe it's just a bad year for everyone. The Twins need a SS for 2022 and maybe Simmons just loves being here and will re-sign. But I'm starting to think he might need to move on and the Twins need to find another option for next year.

    If he's actually happy here, then keep him. Use your payroll for other spots. Plug him in at SS for one more year and worry about the rest of the roster. Even with diminishing skills he's still a solid SS. Otherwise, get what you can and let's see what happens in the off-season. 

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    Trade for a marginal prospect at the deadline that will never see the light of day in the MLB but will save to FO money....

    that is what WILL happen, so not much thought about what we would like to see happen necessary :)

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    I would be sad if we keep him.

    I've watched the majority of the games.  His arm sucks.  He makes a lot of mistakes that don't show up in the stats like dropping cutoff throws.  Plus his baserunning is terrible.  Hard to believe some stats show him to be solid at SS.  That is not how I'd describe him. 

    He is not part of the future.  He is instead, just a part of a losing ball club.  Give the reps to someone else that might have a future with us.

    Not a fan. 

     

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    4 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

    The Twins do not need any more AA or AAA career minor league players. While I was steadfastly opposed to adding Simmons last winter because a healthy Polanco is a key for the Twins, the best course of action now is to stay with Simmons unless a useful player is offered in a trade. If a prospect with real talent can be pried loose, go for it, but otherwise the Twins need to stop adding useless players.

    Drafting and trading for prospects is getting a quite a few useless players. The crapshoot is finding the good player

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    If Royce Lewis hadn't been injured I'd say move him. But with the merry-go-round of injuries this year and the lack of depth in the minors for middle infield I'd say keep him. I believe Polonco needs some some stability and to switch him back to short in the middle of the season won't do anything for the team nor for him. They committed to this move and should build upon it for 2022.

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    Time to move on, if they can find a taker for the contract. Get a couple lower level, but good upside prospects in exchange.  Let Polanco and Gordon handle the position the rest of this year, they won't do any worse than Simmons 

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    Considering Gordon has looked better than I expected, I would like to see the Twins finish their season with Gordon, Polonco and Arraez manning the two middle infield position.

    Expect that some contending team will lose their shortstop sometime over the next seven weeks.  When that happens, the Twins should be able to get a reasonable return and save at least a third of his salary for this year.  As for what is the reasonable return, that's for the professionals who negotiate these deals to determine.

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    If you find a taker, no reason not to trade him.  That goes with any expiring contract.  bring up Gordon and give him the chance to show what he can do with consistent playing time.  It'd be a nice reward for fighting through everything he's been through the last couple of years.

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    Anyone who is not in the plans for next year or beyond should be up for trades.  Even if you get very little in return, something is better than nothing, unless the team feels keeping them will help with possible development of players to replace them with.  

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    The Twins will find a team willing to give some value for Simmons.  However, why not trade Berrios for bigger haul with the Cubs.  Berrios on the Cubs would make it easier for the north siders to retain Jose’s brother in law, Javier Baez. 

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    The Twins will find a team willing to give some value for Simmons.  However, why not trade Berrios for bigger haul with the Cubs.  Berrios on the Cubs would make it easier for the north siders to retain Jose’s brother in law, Javier Baez. 

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    After watching Simmons and every little thing he brings, I'm pretty confident he's part of the problem and not part of the solution.  The only thing I want back is someone to fill the shortstop gap for the rest of the year.  Someone who tries, someone who hustles, someone who gives a crap about details.  It's really easy to see why the Angels let him go for also-ran Iglesias.  Hey, someone like Iglesias!

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    After missing this year and last is Royce Lewis really ready to step up?  If not who plays SS?  Not Polanco, Arraez, Gordon - do we sign another one year fill in?  Not really an easy choice.  With Larnach and Kiriloff getting established and hopefully Buxton back we should be better AB, but we need to concentrate on pitching.  

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    Quote

    But while Simmons’ glove hasn’t taken much of a dip, his bat has more or less fallen off of a cliff

    When I look at his stats, there are two years where he hit OK, but in every other year he has hit worse than he has this year.  How he is hitting now is the best he has hit in 3 years.  I would say this year is who he is when it comes to hitting.

    Also, defensive metrics are hilarious.  A .969 fielding percentage when the league is at a .971 fielding percentage can still work out to 10 outs above average?  How does that work?

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    59 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    After missing this year and last is Royce Lewis really ready to step up?  If not who plays SS?  Not Polanco, Arraez, Gordon - do we sign another one year fill in?  Not really an easy choice.  With Larnach and Kiriloff getting established and hopefully Buxton back we should be better AB, but we need to concentrate on pitching.  

    I would sign a free agent to a multi-year deal and plan on Lewis in CF in 2023 after Buxton leaves in FA. 

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    Overall, I'm a little disappointed with Simmons. His a fine defensive player, but he has made miscues at the worst possible moment. On a pennant contender, he can be an asset and most likely a pennant contender will lose their shortstop so I would think he will be in demand by the trade deadline.

    It would be excellent if the Twins had a plus defender at shortstop who can contribute offensively. I doubt that is anybody we've seen with the major league club, including Polanco and Gordon. I haven't been much impressed with Arraez as a utility guy, but I feel like what he has to offer at the plate is exactly what the team needs. Perhaps Gordon could be a real utility guy and he might offer a bit of speed, which is something the team lacks. 

    Getting back to Simmons, there's really no future for him, but showcasing him before trading him does make sense. He's very good in the field and a bottom of the order hitter. Someone will probably need a player like that .

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    1 hour ago, Dodecahedron said:

    When I look at his stats, there are two years where he hit OK, but in every other year he has hit worse than he has this year.  How he is hitting now is the best he has hit in 3 years.  I would say this year is who he is when it comes to hitting.

    Also, defensive metrics are hilarious.  A .969 fielding percentage when the league is at a .971 fielding percentage can still work out to 10 outs above average?  How does that work?

    Off the top of my head, you get an error for the balls you get to that other people can’t and not make the play, hence a lower %. Outs above average go up for all the plays you do make. 

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    I'd like to see him traded with Polanco moved back to SS and Nick Gordon manning 2B plus Arraez as super utility. I think that both offensively and defensively, Polanco is a premeir SS when healthy. And he’s starting to look healthy again!

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    Trading Simmons shouldn't be about what you can get for him, it should be about where you have someone younger with a possible future that you want to put into that position or, potentially, if moving someone you have opens up a spot for that younger player with a future. We are going nowhere this year so keeping around a one year rental player isn't a smart move unless we plan on also having him next year to keep the spot warm until someone else like Lewis is ready. That's the question. If we got somebody else who could benefit from the reps, trade Simmons for whatever you can get. If not, we have to seriously look at trying to keep him beyond this year because we have no one else.

    I would like to see Polanco and Gordon man the SS spot in the 2nd half of the season and trade Simmons for what we can get, even if its just a couple of A ball guys.  I know Polanco is stretched at SS, but we did win 2 division championships with him playing that position every day. I've heard that Gordon is also stretched at SS, but I'd like to see him get the opportunity to see if he can be the bridge to someone in 2-3 years. This year is about retooling for next year so unless were planning on having Simmons as our SS for next year I think we should move him and try what we have.  

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    I don’t want to trade our #1 pitching commodity on a pitching deprived Twins team already. If they just can’t sign him, then I guess they would have to. They need to step up on both Buxton and Berrios.

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    The thing to me is not this year. If you think this year, the answer is obvious, trade for what you can get. But, what is the depth for the position in the minors? Is Lewis going to be ready when he comes back? People recover from ACLs but it takes a while to get the same flexibility and trust in your knee. And for all what I read, Gordon is not someone who you can put as a SS everyday. I know that he has a 1 year contract, but you can keep him one more year of the team we'll have to find another SS stopgap for next year.

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    4 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

    I would sign a free agent to a multi-year deal and plan on Lewis in CF in 2023 after Buxton leaves in FA. 

    Interesting idea.  I have read it hear before, but his time in CF is as miniscule as Gordons.  Is he really a bad SS?  How do we know?  Next year is going to be the big SS auction from what I have read.  Will we participate?

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    I don't know, I have a feeling I am going to be a majority of one here, but I would sign him to an extension.  Seriously.  31 isn't THAT old, and I have seen enough injuries taking a player out for an entire season to know a percentage don't come back all the way.  Add to that the fact that the minor league season was wiped out last year, and Lewis won't have played any length of time in 2 years.  He may need a lot more seasoning if he comes back at full strength at all.  And he is young enough to give him time to take that seasoning (as well as the team keeping control of him longer).  We didn't sign Simmons for his bat, and his glove will be good for at least a couple of more years.  A 2 year extension at a fair price (if he will even sign it), and see how the heir comes along.  

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