Cubs part ways with Andrelton Simmons amid injury-plagued season
When it came down to it, the Andrelton Simmons situation was simple.
“There’s no room for him, to be honest,” David Ross said Saturday morning, shortly after the Cubs designated the veteran infielder for assignment.
Simmons has been on the IL with a shoulder injury but had been rehabbing with Triple-A Iowa in recent days.
The Cubs signed the 32-year-old shortstop to a 1-year, $4 million deal during Spring Training to provide infield depth. He brought elite defense to the Cubs infield (4 career Gold Gloves) and had been worth 37.3 WAR over his 10-year career in large part because of his glovework.
Entering the season, the Cubs were not 100% sure Nico Hoerner would emerge as the everyday, long-term shortstop and he also has had issues staying healthy throughout his career. So Simmons represented a reliable veteran to man the position and allow Hoerner to move around the diamond, upgrading the team defense overall.
That didn’t end up playing out that way, as Simmons was slowed in camp with a shoulder injury and didn’t make his 2022 debut until May 15.
Simmons played shortstop a bit while Hoerner was on the IL with an ankle injury in May but when Hoerner returned, the Cubs moved Simmons to second base.
The shoulder injury popped up again in mid-July, as Simmons was placed on the IL again.
“Andrelton was nothing but a pro but this year has not gone the way any of us expected,” Ross said. “Starting off hurt, the shoulder — he’s never had a shoulder issue in his career. Just dealing with that and trying to come back.
“Phenomenal person, great professional, I’m gonna miss him, personally. Really good conversations and talked to him yesterday at length. Just one of those situations that he very much understood. Just part of baseball.”
In 34 games with the Cubs, Simmons hit .173 with only 1 extra-base hit (a double) and a .431 OPS.
Right now, the Cubs are playing with an eye on the future, evaluating young talent to see who may become part of the roster in 2023 and beyond. Simmons is a free agent at the end of the season.
The Cubs are comfortable with their middle infield depth as Hoerner will see the bulk of the playing time at shortstop while Chris Morel also works in at the position. Nick Madrigal and Morel can play second while Zach McKinstry is a capable defender at all three infield spots (second, third and short).
If an injury strikes, the Cubs could recall David Bote (the team optioned the veteran infielder to Triple-A Iowa earlier in the week).