The Blue Jays have discussed shortstop Andrelton Simmons with the Angels, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports (Twitter link). Specifically, the Jays “checked with” Anaheim in Morosi’s words, which could imply due diligence more than serious talks about Simmons, though the situation is certainly worth monitoring with just over two days left before the trade deadline.
Simmons is only recently back from a left ankle sprain that cost him over three weeks of the season, so the Blue Jays could very well want to see as much as they can of Simmons in action before deciding on a trade. The veteran shortstop does have at least one hit in four of his five games since returning from the injured list, but his overall slash line for 2020 is only .257/.297/.286 in 37 plate appearances.
While obviously Toronto would like to get any extra hitting it could, Simmons’ biggest asset is his glove, as the four-time Gold Glove winner is widely considered one of the best defensive players in baseball history. Adding that type of glovework at shortstop would go a long towards helping a position that has been a minus for the Jays since Bo Bichette hit the IL. It isn’t yet clear when Bichette might return from his knee sprain, though he did begin baseball activities yesterday.
If the Jays did swing a deal with the Angels, their ideal situation would be Simmons at shortstop and Bichette back and healthy in a regular second base role, as Bichette played second base in the minors. That shuffle would likely result in Cavan Biggio playing third base, as Biggio has played the hot corner in the minors and Travis Shaw has struggled at the plate this season.
Yesterday’s trade of Tommy La Stella to the Athletics would hint that the Angels are open for business as deadline sellers, as the Halos are in line for their fifth straight losing season. Like La Stella, Simmons is also a free agent after the season, as the shortstop is winding up the seven-year, $58MM extension he signed with the Braves way back in February 2014. Of his prorated $15MM salary for 2020, there is roughly $2.8MM still owed to Simmons over the last month of the regular season, so the Jays would be picking up a pretty significant bit of salary in this pandemic-impacted year unless some money is sent back to the Angels as an offset.