The Chicago Cubs are signing free agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a one-year deal worth $4 million before incentives, per Audacy’s Jon Heyman.
Andrelton Simmons to Cubs. $4M plus incentives.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 11, 2022
Simmons appeared in 131 games for the Twins last season, slashing just .223/.283/.274 with three homers, 31 RBI, 32 walks, and 62 strikeouts. Although he struggled to draw walks and didn’t hit the ball very hard, he did avoid getting called out on strikes. The former second-round pick struck out in just 13.1 percent of trips to the plate, ranking among the top-eight percent of eligible hitters. Believe it or not, that was the worst mark that he posted during Statcast’s seven-year existence. His season-long strikeout rates have finished in the 99th percentile five times and the 95th percentile once.
The former Brave and Angel also demonstrated a fantastic glove in 2021 and prior. Widely considered one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, Simmons’ 16 outs above average placed him in the 99th percentile. He also averages 16.5 dWAR and 2.5 fWAR per year.
Simmons was widely viewed as the third-best shortstop on the market behind Carlos Correa and Trevor Story, so the expectation was that he would sign after those two. Instead, he’s the first non-pitcher to sign an MLB deal after the lockout. He should immediately suit up for the team as their starting shortstop while Nick Madrigal occupies second base. Nico Hoerner should fill a depth role in the middle of the infield, likely pushing David Bote to the role of designated hitter and depth third baseman.
It’s certainly a new-look Cubs roster as they recover from last summer’s franchise-altering trades of Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant.