Simmons gone, Braves’ offseason already looking like last one

Braves teammates charge Andrelton Simmons after he hit a walk-off game-winning RBI single to beat Toronto 3-2 in September. Simmons was traded to the Los Angeles Angels Friday night. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Just when you thought there was nobody left for the Braves to dump, John Hart and his little sidekick, John Coppolella, looked down the roster and found Andrelton Simmons. He should have been easy to spot. He was one of the few players left whose name wasn’t written with a black Sharpee on white tape above his locker last season.

It’s a new offseason.

This is a new offseason, isn’t it?

Because it’s already feeling like a year ago, when Hart and Coppolella – the ruling scrub brush and bleach bucket in the Braves’ front office – sought to wipe clean every reminder of the previous team and the previous regime. Among the jettisoned: Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and B.J. Upton.

Next on the launching pad: Simmons. He has won two Gold Gloves in his three full seasons at shortstop. He’s now a member of Los Angeles Angels. Simmons probably didn’t hit as well as the front office had hoped, but when you’re possibly the best defensive player in baseball and you play for a team that neither hit nor pitched particularly well in 2015, defense is kind of important, isn’t it? Especially at shortstop?

In return, the Braves get a 31-year-old shortstop, Erick Aybar, who hit .270 last season. That’s exactly .005 points higher than Simmons batted.

The Braves also get two pitchers, Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis, who are – wait for it – prospects.

Excuse me. GREAT PROSPECTS.

They’re all GREAT PROSPECTS.

Excited? Please be excited. The Braves have so many tickets to sell.

Newcome is 22 years old, Ellis is 23. So the good news is they’re old enough to drive.

The early reviews aren’t positive. Here’s an excerpt of a trade story from the Washington Post:

But Simmons, as long as he continued to play elite defense, seemed affordable: $6 million in 2016, increasing annually to $8 million, $11 million, $13 million and finally that $15 million in 2020. With revenues and salaries increasing every year – and with the Braves set to move into a new suburban ballpark in 2017, $15 million could well seem like a bargain for a linchpin shortstop.

Isn’t that the kind of player the Braves are going to try to find once they are ready to win again (presuming that they will be)? (Only slightly related: What the heck were the Braves doing signing Nick Markakis last offseason?)

So the gold, for the Braves, must lie in the pitching prospects. And the concern about Newcomb is obvious: In 150-1/3 professional innings, he has 82 walks. (Even in college, at the University of Hartford, he walked 75 in 165 innings.)

One scout’s evaluation: “Newcomb will always be a high-pitch-count starter who will end up in the pen because he doesn’t throw quality strikes even though he can touch 96 [mph] and he’s left-handed.”

For the record, again, I have nothing against prospects. Player development is the lifeblood of any major league organization.

But Hart and Coppolella just traded one of few known commodities in their everyday lineup, and probably their second most important player behind Freddie Freeman (who might want to hold off if he was thinking of buying a new house, at least in Atlanta). Maybe Newcomb and Ellis develop and provide the Braves with some needed starting pitching down the road. Or maybe they don’t. Or maybe it’s a really long road, which would fit into everything else Hart and Coppolella have done since taking over.

Last season, Hart did a wonderful job spinning the media and the public before the season on his intent to walk “parallel roads” and build the Braves for both the present and future. But when you deal Andrelton Simmons from an already starved lineup, there is no road on the left to the immediate future. It’s all on the right, far into the future.

EARLIER: Weekend Predictions: It’s not a good time to invest in Georgia

Recent ramblings
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Reader Comments 0

79 comments
SaintsFkngCheaters
SaintsFkngCheaters

No team or player loyalty. They treat player like DIRT COMMODITIES. No good player in their right mind would come to LOSERVILLE.  This team will be the WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL FOR YEARS TO COME.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Anybody who forks over so much as a dime to this decrepit organization for any reason - tickets, merchandise, even Braves peanuts in the grocery store oughtta be horsewhipped.


The Atlanta Braves sooooo richly deserve to play in a quiet and empty stadium, PLEASE do not reward this lousy organization by buying tickets. Please!

Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

"Don't worry about it pal. They wouldn't let you in [the stadium] if you weren't a chump." - Henry Gondorff

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

One fair question I want to put out there -- what do the Braves fans and the ATL sports fans owe this Braves ownership and FO after what they have done to us the last 12 months????  What has the Liberty Media tenure done for us that we should trust them???? 

Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

Fans dont owe nothing to Krusty (Hart) and Bozo (Coppy) and there dynamite throwing comedy routine.

Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

Wile E. Coppy-ote, super genius, keeps drawing up blueprints and ordering boxes of non-descript, unknown prospects marked with ACME. We know how those plans will turn out.

TideDawg
TideDawg

That was a big win for the Dawgs. For those of you that want Richt replaced, check the W-L records of teams in both the East and West and see where Richt stands. If you get rid of Richt, Pruitt, and Schottenheimer......what will you have.....yeah, vacancies filled with the remains of other teams. Let it Rest! Selah!

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@TideDawg  If you are satisfied with 9-3 and no chance to get to the final 4, you are right -- RIcht is great for those who want to be pretty good but less than great

TideDawg
TideDawg

@VeryDisgusted @TideDawg  Not the point I was trying to make, my friend. We all want them in the playoffs every year. I'm just trying to make the point that if you hire someone new they usually get 4 years to turn a program around. They may go 5-7 for a couple of years before you realize the new coach is not the right guy. If LSU is thinking the same way Les Miles may be available and I would love to have him. I went through those types of years at Alabama and they are harder to take than 9-3 or 10-2 so be careful what you wish for and be patient. Only 4 teams in the country make the playoffs each year and there are teams that don't make the playoffs that are just as good as the ones that do. Georgia could end up like Ga. TEch. They only have a good team about every 4 years.

TideDawg
TideDawg



I was watching ESPN this morning. Alabama beat Miss. State and one idiot sports analyst(Galloway) dropped them from 2nd to 3rd place in the polls. This guy really knows his football. Kanell is another anti SEC analyst. He always mentions that Ala. should be penalized in the polls for their one loss......Funny, he didn't mention Notre Dame's ranking with one loss.  The analysts are trying to load the 5,6,7, &8 teams with Big 10 (or Big 9.5) teams to assure a Big 10 team gets in the final 4.




TideDawg
TideDawg

Wow! The Braves have traded away all of my favorite players. In case they missed it Fredi Gonzalez is my favorite manager.

Hairy Dawg
Hairy Dawg

Only trade that makes any senses for improving Braves is Hart and Coppy sent somewhere else for a box a rocks. At lease rocks could be useful in concrete in new stadium.

This here mgt is the screwyest thing I ever seen and they made mess a 2015 while saying they still competing and that not true. Why we not supposed see this as more contract dumping to rob fans with sorry team again and no payroll after taxpayers shell out for stadium.

pride
pride

Only one team wins it all each year.  Fans keep coming for various reasons with one of the biggest reasons being living and dying with our favorite players.  The number geeks have completely left this factor out of their soulless calculations and for this reason they can go to hell for all I care.

E983
E983

Some of us still remember the late 80s when Bobby Cox took over as Braves GM. They were awful. The AJC along with TV and radio laughed at the Braves. Teams playing the Braves got well with 2 out of 3 and 3 out of 4 wins. Frequent sweeps were happening too. Take a look at the history on the Braves website. The media back then were begging to trade "that hockey player" and that guy they traded away for Doyle Alexander. Frank Wren will do fine in Boston along with his buddy Dave Dombrowski. Those two need owners with deep pockets. We don't have that luxury here. Prospects? The Braves farm system is on empty. Those fans that were looking for a great championship caliber team in 2017 were fooled. I think management was hoping for a competitive team to sell tickets. Mediocre sucks. It takes patience to build a winner with a stingy owner. Like it or not it's gonna be a long couple of years. Keep your eyes on Rome and Gwinnett and the transaction section of the AJC. The upside? Tickets will be cheap.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Well, sure didn't take long for Frank Wren to get Kimbrel up in Boston now did it?

Gumby1
Gumby1

I had already lost any feelings about what the Braves do. Maybe they are looking for a way to leave Atlanta, start over elsewhere with low expectations and low salary. Freeman should demand a trade and get out too.

armchair
armchair

Gosh, the Braves have just made an loooong series of bad trades over the last 4 years. Teixera--disaster; Uptons--disaster (and a predictable one at that); Uggla (major disaster); Heyward (budding disaster), among others. They go out and get Markakis, who is a good player who would wonderful on a team with a solid lineup but is totally wasted on this team--as is Freeman of course. They needed a guy like Markakis three years ago, not now when they've wipe out the whole team. And now they've traded an all-star shortstop for two AA prospects with control problems. So they've basically wiped out the team of two years ago for a boatload of AA pitching prospects. I hope they have a good pitching coach. 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Last year's crop of prospects are this year's suspects, so we gotta have more prospects. Memorize and repeat annually.

Player2Bnamed
Player2Bnamed

Hey, was Liberty Media involved in the making the movie Major League?  Cause the Braves are looking a lot like that fictional Indians team, and the stadium is sure gonna be empty.

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

Being a fan favorite doesn't win you ballgames. Hell of a infielder. Mediocre hitter who was going to make 15 mil a year soon. That's a lot of money when you aren't hitting bombs and driving in runs. 


Let's not forget that Aybar is a major league short stop. It's not as if we just took the guy from section 305 seat ZZ and asked him to try and play short for us. 

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

The only bad part of this trade is the fact that we didn't trade for some bats. Simmons is an outstanding SS, there is no doubting that. However, this is the worst offense in MLB and he's a .250 hitter with no power that is destined to be a 7-8 hole hitter for the rest of his career. In an offense that is as anemic as this they need some bats. I can only hope they are stockpiling arms to deal later on for some hitters. 


If I told you we traded a career .256/10/50 hitter for top pitching prospect (a lefty who throws 96) would you be disappointed? A GG shortstop is fantastic to have but what's the point if you can't score any runs. We have 1 legit hitter and mediocre pitching.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Move the Barffs to Winnipeg and let them take this headache off our hands -- No fan base should have to put up with the John Coppella's of the world running their team -- he is to the Braves what Matt Millen was to the Detroit Lions


FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Had they gotten a hitter that was even a yr or two from being ready this would have gone down better -- but they did not get what they really need

They will never get a hitter of any kind -- next up Freeman and Teheran and maybe Markakis.  For what -- more stupid pitching -- guys who throw hard that will wind up in the pen like Folty and this Newcome BUMB

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan



Newcome looks like another Folty with that walk rate -- Prospects schmuspects -- Coppy has some major addiction to prospect pitching


FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

More bull moves by Coppella to antagonize the fan base again.  I have zero -- I repeat ZERO confidence in the Braves top management

The tea party and the Obama democrats have a better chance of agreeing on all things before this incompetent FO has of putting a winner together -- Coppy is the most incompetent FO in this citys history and that includes Don Waddell

Singleton
Singleton

The old baseball adage- great teams have strength up the middle. Andrelton Simmons represnted that strength. His hitting suffered this year ,because he was pressing to make up for an anemic offense. No way to build a contending team.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

The Braves are killing me. I'm so mad at them I bought a Mets cap. Chipper feels the same way.

RoseUp
RoseUp

Since we're dumping everything that was remotely related to the Braves we knew, can we also dump the Chop? That thing is soo tired, especially for a rebuilding (losing) team.

joop
joop

This one hurt.  Trading Kimbrell made sense because a great closer is a waste unless you've got save opportunities.  But Simmons made a horrible team watchable.  Albies and Newcomb better pan out ASAP or this trade is a major disappointment.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@joop  Just wait when Freeman and Teheran are moved for G Braves type of guys

Ersatz
Ersatz

After gulping down gallons of brewskis and tons of tater skins and babyback ribs, all paid in full by cobb taxpayers, each ice cold mug and platter of greasy appetizers begins to look like the last one too.  The barves front office hogs and cobb political fat cats know this better than anyone, because when they're partying at the 27-story Applebee's in barvesworld on the cobb taxpayer dollar, each of those embezzled cobb taxpayer dollars looks like the last one too.  But with so much to celebrate, including years to come of 100-shutout-loss seasons of barves baseball in a brand new, empty stadium, there's no way the billionaires will let the booze and appetizers run out.  Not when the cobb taxpayers have already been so generous in picking up the tab for everything.

CoronaGT
CoronaGT

Still not funny. Are you capable of making an intelligent comment?

simplysql
simplysql

as bad as they were last year, this coming year will make that look good.  They will have a tough time beating Gwinnett, much less any MLB team...


pride
pride

Freddie Freeman goes next as the Braves front office need his roster spot as they have spotted a high school pitcher working as a busboy at a sezuan restaurant on Buford highway they really like and we already have a first baseman in A ball with 2 hrs in 400 abs, a .193 BA but very affordable.

patriotdog
patriotdog

"John Hart and his little sidekick"? "Ruling scrub brush and bleach bucket"? Schultz, you sound like an angry old man. Hart has a much better track record of building franchises than anyone in town, now that the gutless Hawks owners acquiesced to idiot Gearon,Jr and fired Ferry.

No one wanted to see Simba go, but even the most blind loyalist could see that he was undisciplined as a hitter, and even with early season progress last year he eventually went back to his heel swinging ways.

I'll miss Simba's defense, but they have a shortstop in waiting in the minors. Pitching prospects, especially lefties, are trade bait to bring in bats. Hart has proven he's at least as adept at franchise building as you are, Schultzie, let's just watch it evolve, shall we?

Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

All Liberty Media cares about is making money. I wish I knew what the heck they did so I could boycott them.

Anyone who buys that stupid stock is a sucker.
If you MUST go to a game next year, ride MARTA, don't pay to park. Eat before you go in. Don't give them any more money!

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Just following their recent formula for success.  Decreased attendance last year didn't affect the bottom line because they cut payroll so severely, they still made a $9 Million profit.  Probably make $12 million this year, if folks are dense enough to continue to attend games. 

Savdon
Savdon

Wow.

At least can say I saw him hit his first home run.  If I'm not mistaken it was the Saturday game where the 20th anniversary of THE SLIDE was celebrated.  It must have been.  It was the only game I attended in 2012.


Sayonara, Andrelton!  (You might want to polish up on your Japanese out there in Cali)

kerryb
kerryb

Some people are unable to see the big picture.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Liberty Media = Bernie Madoff. If Atlanta fans cant see the scam thats being pulled on them by these schysters and their shills now, I dont know if they ever will.

kerryb
kerryb

You got your name right. Dumb comment.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

So how long have you been a resident of Losersville, Einstein? Hey Bernie,

I got a new client for you

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@Mr. Negative  I do not know if I can go that far -- cause I do not think LM is doing anything illegal -- unethical and immoral maybe but Madoff is convicted and LM is just cold mean business but not criminal

kerryb
kerryb

Just another example of the Braves getting rid of Frank Wrenn's bad contracts. The Braves were paying 54 million dollars for a guy that can only play defense and was never going to be a consistent hitter. When the Braves have the best rotation in baseball again in a couple of years all the whiners can shut up. This is what you have to do to rebuild the second worst farm system in baseball quickly. This is not about Eric Aybar at all. Aybar is just a bridge to Ozzie Albies that the Braves apparently like better. He's a .328 hitter in 2 season of the minors and has stolen 79 bases. Better hitter with more speed. The Braves are building a faster line up that makes contact along with strong pitching.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan


@kerryb  Frank Wren's teams won more games than the Hart/Coppolousy duo can ever hope to win


Wren was not perfect but atleast the team mattered over his watch -- prospects are a crapshoot -- we need real players not crapshoots who cares about Baseball America and their rankings

Big Wally
Big Wally

You know you have a problem, when your team has more bobble head nights than victories.