All it takes is a couple of small tweets to get the entire baseball world buzzing, and that's what happened last night when ESPN baseball writer Jonah Keri sent this out.
Now we've gone from hearing about one potential NL West team being a trade partner (the Padres) to hearing that now nearly half of all the teams in baseball have reportedly called the Braves about Andrelton Simmons since the news broke. However, the price appears to be extremely steep, as you can see below:
The Braves know that they're dealing from a position of power here. Since he's apparently available now, who wouldn't want the best defensive shortstop in the game? Yeah, it would cost a team a bushel of prospects and MLB-ready talent, but it'd probably be worth it knowing that you'd have the shortstop position locked down for the forseeable future on an extremely team-friendly contract. On the flip side, that's a luxury that the Braves should probably think hard about keeping, and the possibility of a Simmons trade has Ken Rosenthal flummoxed.
I suspect a trade will happen, even though the Braves say they are only listening. They said the same thing last season about Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Craig Kimbrel, and every one of them got moved. Every single one.
But Simmons isn’t like Heyward and Upton, who were entering their free-agent years. He isn’t like Gattis, who was more of an American League player. And he isn’t like Kimbrel, whom the Braves were willing to trade in large part because it freed them of Melvin Upton Jr.’s remaining guarantee.
No, Simmons is one of the Braves’ core players, one of their most identifiable talents. He will play next season at 26. He is signed for the next five seasons for a club-friendly $53 million. And on Wednesday night, he was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year. Not just for his team. For all of baseball.
If some club makes the Braves a ridiculous offer, OK -- every player is available for the right price. But at some point, this needs to stop.
While we're all trying to do our best to keep an open mind here as far as the Simmons trade rumors are concerned, it would still be a huge blow to both the team -- since Simmons is one of the core players of the franchise -- and to the fanbase, since he's still an extremely popular figure for us fans. Either way, this is clear evidence that the Braves front office is ready and willing to trade any and everyone in order to get this rebuild moving in the direction that they see fit.
Oh yeah, there's other Braves news going on as well! Atlanta made it clear that they wanted to bring back C A.J. Pierzynski for another season, and they've managed to accomplish that goal by signing him to a 1-year deal worth at least $3 MM. It's not often that you see a 38-year old get a raise going into his age-39 season, but that's what happens when you pull a 2.1 fWAR season out of nowhere in your age-38 season. While it's highly unlikely that he'll repeat that performance, his role as a mentor to the younger Braves means that his return to the squad definitely makes a lot of sense.
With Hector Olivera apparently getting ready for a move to the outfield, that leaves the position of 3rd base in a state of flux. However, the Braves have made it clear that they're open to starting 2016 with Adonis Garcia manning the hot corner. Do I think that this is going to happen? Only if they can't make something happen this offseason with a trade or free agency signing, and the latter is unlikely since the 3B market is looking a bit thin. But for now, we may have to prepare for Adonis Garcia to be the 3B for the Braves in 2016.
Our friends over at Minor League Ball decided to rank the top 20 Braves prospects for their 2016 Baseball Prospect Book, and if you've been following the Braves' farm system as of late, then none of these names will be a surprise to you. What also won't be a surprise is that the farm system is looking really strong. While none of the prospects recevied an "A" ranking (potential superstar), over half of them were ranked at or around the "B" level (successful major league players), which is a good sign for the future.
The owners of the Atlanta Braves are busy again, and this time they've announced that there will be new stock in the Braves for potential stockholders to buy.
The Seattle Mariners have reportedly made it known that they're trying to get themselves a new outfielder or two. The hottest rumor out there is that the Mariners could potentially make a move for Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner. From a Braves perspective, it'd be nice if they were interested in one of Atlanta's many outfielders, but I don't think that the new regime in Seattle is that desperate.
Meanwhile, the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals (it's still weird to me) are looking to go after a top-shelf reliever this offseason in order to make sure that their bullpen remains strong. Name such as Joakim Soria and Darren O'Day have already been linked to the Royals, which means that the defending champs are pretty serious about shoring up their bullpen.