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Braves hire Ted Simmons into front office

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Per Bob Nightengale, the Braves have hired long-time baseball player and executive Ted Simmons as Special Assistant to the General Manager.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this morning, Bob Nightengale reported that the Braves have hired Ted Simmons as Special Assistant to General Manager John Copollela.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Atlanta <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Braves?src=hash">#Braves</a> make brilliant hire: Name Ted Simmons as special assistant to GM</p>&mdash; Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) <a href="https://twitter.com/BNightengale/status/653615948578983936">October 12, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Simmons has a long and storied history as a player - he was an 8-time All-Star and pulled down a Silver Slugger as part of a 20-year MLB career as a catcher. He played his last three seasons (1986-1988) as a Brave, mostly as a bench player who filled in at catcher, first base, and third base. While it's hard to assess defensive value for catchers, and moreso for the pre-metrics days, Simmons is still currently in the top 10 for catcher value by fWAR.

More salient to the present news is Simmons' career as a baseball executive. Less than a half-decade after his retirement, Simmons was named General Manager of the Pirates. While he would last only about a year in the position (he suffered a heart attack in 1993 and resigned), he was notable for orchestrating the deal that would have sent Barry Bonds to the Braves in his first few months on the job... at least until ownership and his own manager, Jim Leyland, nixed the deal. (Side note: if Bonds became a Brave, I doubt I'd ever have been a Braves fan.)

Since that point, Simmons has bounced around major league front offices, serving as Director of Player Development with the Cardinals and Padres, a scout with the Indians, and a front office functionary with the Brewers. He also got some dugout time in 2009 with the Padres and 2010 for Milwaukee as a bench coach.

Mostly recently, he was a senior advisor to Jack Zduriencik of the Mariners, who was recently relieved of his duties. While the impact of such positions is never clear and hard to differentiate among the various voices in a front office, the postmortems on Jack Z's tenure in Seattle have not been particularly kind. Still, at least Nightengale seems pleased with this move, and Simmons certainly has a wealth of baseball experience to draw on. We'll keep you updated if any additional information about Simmons' role and focus comes to light.