Trading Andrelton Simmons would be the worst move the Angels could make
Recent rumors have said that if the Angels are out of contention by the All Star Break, that Simmons could be playing his last innings as an Angel. It makes sense on the surface, the Angels are a team lacking farm depth and prospects, and a defense first shortstop is a bit of a luxury if you’re going to win 74 games. I want the Angels farm to be replenished more than anyone. We were lucky with Trout, plain and simple. Since Trout, it’s felt as almost anyone we have brought up has never been consistently good since.
Calhoun is one of my favorite Angles, but even he’s been struggling hard this year. Shoemaker had a brilliant rookie year and a great stretch at the end of his last season before the injury, now he’s been average again. It feels that each glimpse we have of a player being more than good gets derailed due to injury, or it was a streak of luck.
With Simmons, we have a guaranteed talent at the age of 27 (his prime years), and he is still locked up on a good contract until 2020. We can still ride out some of his best years and sell at the end of his contract for better returns, right now he’s a major profit. Baseball reference had Simmons with a WAR of 4.2 in 2016, despite only playing 124 games due to injury. His WAR per 155 games (accounting for normal rest, finger sprains, etc) adjusts to 5.25 (All Star level). This season so far, he’s played every game and put up a WAR of 2.0, which project to 5.08, roughly the same as last year, and also All Star production.
The Angels main problem the past couple years has been offensive production (not that our pitching staff has been lights out either). Thus, the option of replacing Simmons for hitting is theoretically a good replacement, replace a non-hitter with a hitter. Except for the fact that besides Trout, nobody on our team has been more than an average hitter, while Simmons’s defense has provided a stable force for our team, saving runs daily, and keeping us afloat.
Let this sink in: the only player since the 2013 season for the Angels to post a WAR per 155 of 5.0 (non Trout), is Howie Kendrick in 2014 with a 5.3. The Angels have truly been carried by Trout in recent years, to the point that the addition of Simmons gives us a second All Star, one where if we add one or two more pieces, it’s the foundation for a playoff team.
More than anything, we know Simmons can produce for us when he’s not hitting at all, sub 700 OPS levels, so when he does hit we get a major bonus. He is a generational defensive talent who we were lucky to have stolen from the Braves. Giving him up would be one of the worst choices we could make, it may take years to find someone could produce what Simmons does, let alone at a position like shortstop, where high level production means so much more. His defense at shortstop is worth much more than a slugging left-fielder or first baseman.
A trade would be okay if a team is willing to send a top prospect and some mid-level ones for Simmons, but I just get the feeling that’s not his market value. As much as the game has shifted toward saber-metrics, it still feels like if you are not putting up glamour stats, your market level isn’t that of other superstars. Simmons not making All Star teams does not help either, the game is still based heavily on batting average and RBI’s when we know so much more.
The Angels are a team based around only Trout, getting rid of their second best player could kill any chance of this team’s short and long term future.