Aug. 7: Simmons has been granted his unconditional release, per Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Aug. 6: The Cubs designated shortstop Andrelton Simmons for assignment today, the club announced. The move came shortly after he was activated from the 10-day IL. He had been out since mid-July with a right shoulder strain.
Simmons never really got off the ground in Chicago after signing a one-year, $4MM deal with the Cubs in the offseason. He struggled with shoulder soreness from the jump and had logged only 85 plate appearances on the season. In that small sample, he logged a meager .173/.244/.187 batting line and notched only a single extra-base hit. In his absence, Nico Hoerner has handled most of the innings at shortstop, logging a 107 wRC+ while playing solid defense, rendering the veteran surplus to requirements for a non-contending team.
While Simmons has been spoken of as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game since his 2012 debut, his offensive production — he sports a career 86 wRC+ — has fallen off a cliff since leaving the Angels after the 2020 season. In roughly a full season of action (536 PAs), he’s produced at a .216/.277/.261 clip, good for a wRC+ of only 51.
Still, provided his shoulder doesn’t prove an ongoing issue, Simmons could still catch on with a contender as a high-end defensive option, though likely not until after he’s cleared waivers. He’s won four gold gloves and finished second (to Carlos Correa) in the Fielding Bible’s 2021 defensive rankings. In fact, since 2013, he’s finished lower than third only once and won the award for six consecutive seasons (2013-2018). Advanced metrics back up Simmons’ continued defensive value; per Fangraphs, Simmons has accumulated 19 DRS (defensive runs saved) between 2021 and 2022 and a prodigious 201 for his career.
In parts of 11 seasons with the Braves, Angels, Twins, and Cubs, Simmons owns a career .263/.312/.366 triple-slash. Though he’ll enter 2023 at 33 years old, Simba will likely draw at least some interest in the offseason should he wish to continue playing, if perhaps as a non-roster invitee. Regardless of where his career goes from here, though, his glovework will remain the stuff of legend in Atlanta and Orange County.