The extension parade continues for the Atlanta Braves.
Having locked up all of Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, and Craig Kimbrel in the last couple of weeks, the Braves had a couple of remaining priorities left on their young club. One of those priorities found himself with a new deal on Thursday, as the team locked up Andrelton Simmons on a new seven-year contract extension.
Just as the case was with Teheran, Simmons represents a player with extremely limited service time. The 2013 season was his first full season in the big leagues, but he’s already shown that he has tremendous upside, particularly with the glove. This new extension will pay him $58 million over the course of the deal, with Simmons now locked into the Braves’ plans until at least 2020.
Simmons still has a bit of a ways to go as far as his offensive production is concerned, as he reached base at a clip of only .296 last season and hit just .248. He should show marked improvement in that regard in 2014, especially given that his BABIP for the year was just .247. He doesn’t strike out a lot either. His offensive game should be there very, very soon.
What makes Andrelton Simmons such an attractive player, though, is what he can do with the leather. Perhaps the best defensive shortstop in the game, Simmons’ UZR in 2013 was 24.6. In addition to that absurd figure, he saved 41 runs last season and made 73 “out of zone” plays as well. He’s a fantastic defensive player, and easily a top five guy to have in the field moving forward.
Next on the Braves’ agenda is likely going to be an extension for Jason Heyward, though it remains to be seen if the two sides have come together on talks for a potential deal at this point at all.