How Andrelton Simmons fits with Cubs
MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs appear to have taken a step Friday to shore up their middle infield defense.
The team reportedly signed free agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a one-year contract.
Cubs closing in on free-agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons, source tells @TheAthletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 11, 2022
Known primarily for his defensive work, Simmons has won 4 Gold Gloves, a Platinum Glove in 2013 and has posted 197 Defensive Runs Saved in his 10-season career.
In 2021, Simmons ranked 4th among MLB shortstops in Outs Above Average (16) and second in defensive runs saved (15).
The Cubs used 8 different players at shortstop in 2021. After the trade deadline, the team posted a .968 fielding percentage from the shortstop position, the seventh-lowest percentage in baseball.
Simmons’ arrival allows the Cubs to be creative in their usage of 2018 1st round pick Nico Hoerner and gives them an immediate, elite glove at short.
Hoerner, who made 12 starts at short in 2021, also played second, left field and center field last season. Nick Madrigal, whom the Cubs acquired for Craig Kimbrel last season, will likely be the Cubs’ Opening Day second baseman.
The Simmons signing also gives the Cubs some cover for Hoerner and Madrigal. Hoerner played just 44 games in 2021 and was on the injured list four times throughout the season. Madrigal played in 54 games before suffering a torn right hamstring in June that cost him the rest of the season.
Simmons’ ability to play elite-level defense at short allows the Cubs to move Hoerner to second if Madrigal has to miss any time. Hoerner was a Gold Glove finalist at second in 2020.
Simmons has a career slash line of .265/.313/.369 with 70 home runs and 437 RBI in nearly 1,200 MLB games.
On Friday, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer alluded to the frenzy of moves that could be possible ahead of Sunday’s mandatory report date to spring training camp.
“Trying to fill out a roster, this is a condensed window,” Hoyer said. “As we talked about, we wanna get guys in camp as quickly as we can. Not all those deals are gonna come together right away.”