Hear #Braves want to sign Simmons long term but sides differ on offensive value now/future. Hitting pays huge, defense doesn’t.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 16, 2014
The Braves have spent the last two weeks locking down their homegrown talent. Jason Heyward signed a two-year extension to buy out his final years of arbitration, Freddie Freeman agreed to an eight-year deal worth $135 million, and Julio Teheran inked a six-year deal with an option for a seventh. On Sunday, the club locked down All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel for potentially five years and $58.5 million.
The desire to extend Simmons is a no-brainer for the Braves. Now just 24 years old, Simmons was worth 4.7 WAR (wins above replacement) in 2013, making him the third-most valuable shortstop in the game, according to FanGraphs. Simmons is probably the best defensive player in baseball, saving 41 runs last season. Carlos Gomez of the Brewers was second-best with 38 runs saved.
Simmons is unlikely to ever win a Silver Slugger award, but he put up a respectable .248/.296/.396 line with 17 home runs last season after hitting six homers in 237 career minor league games. Those numbers should improve a bit as he continues to gain experience in the big leagues.
Earlier on Sunday, SB Nation's Braves blog, Talking Chop, mentioned that Simmons was the likeliest candidate to get the next big deal.
I'm about ready to put the over/under on an @andrelton contract extension agreement by next Saturday.— Talking Chop (@TalkingChop) February 16, 2014
The way Frank Wren is operating right now, it would not be surprising if the talented shortstop got a new deal sooner rather than later.