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Andrelton Simmons to the Angels

November 13, 2015
Not Andrelton Simmons in a ninja costume.

Not Andrelton Simmons in a ninja costume.

So the US celebrates that they bagged Jihad John this morning. The UK wants additional proof of the kill. ISIS just kind of shrugged their shoulders, gave another hump a dagger, and filmed him as ‘Jihadi Phil’.

So it is with Atlanta who traded Andrelton Simmons and low-minors catcher Jose Briceno for Erick Aybar (headed into his walk year) and blue-chip AA pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis. Atlanta probably wishes it still had Jose Peraza (the perfect Jihadi Phil) but the plan here is fairly straightforward: run Erick Aybar as a “better” bat than what Simmons has shown so far and slip Pedro Ciriaco in late as a defensive replacement as required.

Atlanta must love the pitching prospects. The Braves aren’t contending next year, so there’s no harm in getting younger. Aybar actually gets them younger if he’s not re-signed next winter too. But Simmons is cheap-ish at $53M through 2020/age-31.

Simmons’ bat has been disappointing the last couple years but he’s cut down the K and if he settles in to 2015’s .321 OBP while the 15-20 HR eventually fills in, the Angels have done well here.

You can never have too much pitching they say, but Atlanta’s move here is a little surprising as Atlanta’s seldom had to trade for it.

We panned the 4-year-deal Atlanta gave Nick Markakis last year. Year One turned out far better than we thought (not sure which surprised us more: .746 OPS or 156 games played). But shipping out Alex Wood and Peraza this summer, and now Simmons, makes the Markakis signing that much more bizarre. The sun may set on the Markakis deal before the Braves are competitive. The Nationals and Marlins should both be much improved next year, and the Mets won the pennant. Atlanta’s got a long way to go. We’re not claiming they can’t get there, but they’re walking instead of riding.

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