Simmons Out For 4-6 Weeks, Trade Necessary?Posted: July 9, 2012
Sweeping the Phillies on the road was a great way to end the first half of the season. Losing rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons for 4-6 weeks was not.
Simmons was officially put on the 15-day DL with a “non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his right hand,” today. Long story short, he has a broken hand. If there is a bright side, the upcoming All-Star Break will limit the number of games missed, but don’t expect him back to until the middle of August.
For now, I would expect the Braves to recall Tyler Pastornicky to replace Simmons. I think the Braves will stick to the rotation they had pre-Simmons; Pastornicky starting unless Hudson is on the mound, in which Wilson would get the start. I could see the Braves going with Wilson more if Pastornicky doesn’t hit well early on to at least get some defensive value.
Ben Duronio of Capitol Avenue Club proposed another idea for the team. He believes they should try to trade for Brendan Ryan.
“I would like to see the Braves trade for Brendan Ryan to start for the next month or so, then cut Wilson when Simmons returns and make Ryan the utility infielder.
…His fielding is top notch, as he is likely the best defensive shortstop in the league — it’s between him and Simmons, in my opinion — so he is good enough to play just based off of that alone. If his BABIP rises up to his career .287 from its current level of .234, he could be a ~80 wRC+ guy with tremendous defense, which certainly has value.”
It is widely accepted around the sabermetric community that Ryan is the best defensive shortstops in the game (aside from Simmons) and an undervalued player in general. He leads all shortstops in defensive runs saved (DRS) and UZR since the 2009 season. I definitely agree he would be an upgrade over the current situation of Pastornicky/Wilson. The problem I have with this is that the team is in greater need of a bench bat and/or a reliever (excluding a frontline starter). In the final months, a move valuable bench bat or reliable reliever would be a greater asset to the team. We will essentially be acquiring Ryan, then acquiring a better version of Ryan in mid-August when Simmons comes back. That is filling a need a current need the team has twice. I would save any money or possible prospects included in the trade for another for a need the team might have down the stretch.
That being said, I believe any trade is worth it depending on the cost. If we can get Ryan for very little, I’m all for it. It would be an upgrade over Wilson as a backup. I just wouldn’t push too hard to acquire Ryan. These types of overreactions to come back to bite a team. I think it is important to take a step back and not overreact when these adverse situations occur. Does it suck to lose Simmons for over a month, yes. Will the Pastornicky/Wilson combination be frustrating, probably. But we dealt with it the first half of the season and the rest of the offense was able to carry the team.
Hopefully Simmons is able to come back closer to the 4 week timeline and Pastornicky and Wilson can fill the void. Even if they don’t help, just don’t hurt. I would be satisfied if the combination can combine to be replacement level players during this stretch, but even that could be too much to ask considering they have a combined -1.8 fWAR this season. Patching together the upcoming weeks won’t be pretty, but if other parts of the team can pick up the slack, the Braves will surely still be in contention for the playoffs.
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UPDATE: (7/14 9:00 AM):
Well, it looks as if Tyler Pastornicky will not be in the Braves permanent plans (maybe get called up for now). Having only one shortstop available for yesterdays game, Martin Prado was called in from left field after Wilson left with a broken pinky. It looks as if a trade is necessary now. Wren made a couple comments yesterday in a Q & A session that might give us a clue to the Braves plans.
Here is a tweet from @CraigDesign who attended the Q & A session yesterday…
Wren: currently finding “glove-first” SS to platoon w/ Wilson. Not Pastornicky.
So maybe Ryan would be a good fit for the Braves, probably the best we are gonna get. Not that we know Simmons won’t be back until the beginning of September, Wilson being out for sometime with his
broken dislocated pinky and Pastornicky not being an option, I would give it a go. I mean, how much can the Mariners possibly ask for a guy hitting .184/.284/.272 ?