The Jadeite Jewel: Simmons Saves the Day

Andrelton Simmons standing on a baseball field with a glove on his hand is a web gem waiting to happen, and this winter Braves Journal is going to determine which of his gems is the best of his best—his Jadeite. For the full rules, check out the introduction.

Round 1: Backup Extraordinaire vs. Superman

Backup Extraordinaire

Editor’s Pitch: Simmons will never give up on a play, even if someone else is supposed to be making it. Considering the defensively solid Pena was at third, Simmons could have easily been caught on his heels on this play. That is not the Simmons Way, however, so when the ball got past Pena, Simmons was not only ready for it, he was able to get to it in enough time to make the out. Of course he did.

Superman

Editor’s Pitch: Take a screen shot at 0:28 of this clip, throw a cape on the man, and you’ll discover the true identity of Superman. Clark Kent has nothing on Andrelton.

101 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: Simmons Saves the Day”

  1. I think it’s time to re-engage the Rangers on a Gattis swap, especially if the plan is to put him in left field.

  2. ‘Rissa, thanks for the Simmons highlights. Makes me forget what a lousy hitter he is.

    I’m not sure the plan is to play him in LF. But if they can trade him for another prospect package or an MLB ready OFer or Pitcher or some combination thereof then yeah lets deal him.

  3. Perhaps it’s time to repeat the obvious again.

    If the return is good, deal him. (No one is untouchable for the right return. Not Gattis. Not Heyward. Not Kimbrel. The obvious question is what is or is not the right return.)

    If the return is not good, keep him and drop his ass into the lineup whereever you can get him at bats. If Bethancourt outhits Amonte, play him in LF. If Toscano outhits Bethancourt, play him a C. If Freddie Freeman contracts Ebola, play him at 1B.

  4. “If Freddie Freeman contracts Ebola”

    Classic inoculation-by-anti-jinx! Which reminds me, we’ll probably need to pick up another starting pitcher in case Julio Teheran gets a bad case of shingles.

  5. Bethancourt’s line last year was .248/.274/.274. At that rate he’ll need to hit .310 for a .700 OPS. I want to be optimistic about him, but he I don’t see much that says major league starting catcher from his hitting. My guess is they were trying to position Gattis or even Bethancourt for a trade. If Gattis isn’t our starter at catcher I bet we see over 300 at bats from someone other than Bethancourt at catcher. I have no idea who that will be.

  6. I hope our best writers are incorrect. Basically Bowman is saying the return for Gattis will be less than what we got for 1 yr of Heyward or Upton. He’s a cost controller 30 HR bat. How would his value be less?

    I’m also fine with trading Bethancourt. He’s got one skill (throwing) and Gattis has one (power). Ill pass on the former. I’d rather just resign Harang if we are just looking at a small return for Gattis.

  7. I think Peanut is saying we’d only trade Gattis for a pitcher (who could already be making as much as $16 mil, so we’re supposed to infer from that that we’re targeting an established, good pitcher) or outfielder who we can control for a while.

    That’s theoretically better than a heap of prospects, the best of which is damaged goods, and it’s better than a pitcher with question marks like the ones Shelby Miller has, putting his price tag aside.

  8. I think there’s enough questions about Gattis’ ability to hit for contact, stay healthy, and which position he can play well to get any more than what the Braves got for Heyward. We got a haul for Heyward, IMO. A non-SS-playing defensive whiz for a potential top line major league starter cost-controlled for 5 seasons? Sign me up. Oh, and our new #9 rated prospect? That’s even better!

  9. Couldn’t we have just targeted that said $16M pitcher via FA (Shields, McCarthy, Liriano) and keep Gattis? I don’t understand that plan. I would think trading Gattis would get us multiple good players as mentioned. Someone like Mookie Betts and a prospect SP that could step in to the 5th SP spot, but has major upside.

    Is that expecting too much?

  10. @11
    Gattis has no spot in Boston as they already have 2 catchers, are full at DH, 1b, and the OF. And yes, I think Mookie Betts and a prospect SP is asking too much.

    Something we’ve been discussing over at Tomahawk Take has been a Ubaldo for BJ swap,and it makes a lot of sense. The Os need an OF and the Braves need a pitcher. Both players come with major risk, yet both players have been elite at their position at some point in their careers. As of now, Ubaldo won’t break their rotation. I think the Braves would have to throw some money at the Os.

  11. Picking up two pitchers from the scrap pile (Harang and Santana) worked well for us last year and I suspect unless we’re blown away, picking up one this year for a 5th starter is our plan. If they determine Hale is up for the job they may look to strengthen the bullpen. Again a 3rd catcher or possibly a 1st should be our focus.

  12. Yes, I know Boston doesn’t need Gattis. Just an example. Give the Indians BJ and Bethancourt for Ubaldo if it helps.

    or

    We have $22mil to spend. Call James Shields and Nori Aoki and see if you can make the money work. Keep Gattis behind the plate and let Bethancourt catch Teheran’s starts.

  13. @DOBrienAJC: #Braves OF signee Almonto Zoilo (former Yank) batting .338 (47-for-139) w/ 15 XBH (2 HR), .395 OBP, .870 OPS in 35g in D.R. winter league

  14. If BJ were a free agent right now, what sort of offer would he get? Given his age, prior performance, and ability to play an adequate centerfield, he’d be worth a 1-yr, $1 mil flier with heavy performance incentives. That is, if I didn’t have a decent option for CF or a replacement level 4th outfielder.

    What sort of incentive would you need to pay such a player $45 million dollars more than he’s worth? I would say, besides having a need, I’d need to get rid of $45 million in replacement level bad contracts or receive players and prospects who figure to get me 8-10 extra wins over the next 3-5 years.

  15. BJ is projected to be a 1WAR player in 2015. I’m assuming that’s because he still plays adequate defense. My question for you guys who are advanced metrics people, would BJ become a 2-3 WAR Player if he moved to right field or left field? I’m assuming his defense would be better in one of the corner positions.

  16. There is a positional adjustment for both offense and defense, so BJ might gain in dWAR but lose in oWAR. I’m suspecting the offensive cost would be higher than the defensive benefit. It also assumes we could find someone to play CF as well.

  17. When you have an offense with no scoring potential and get an opportunity to sign a 38 year old reliever to a 2 year deal with an option for a 3rd to fill a non-existent hole, you’ve got to do it.

  18. Braves hoarding former closers and its a smart move. If they are out of contention, some team in contention with a failed closer will pay a pretty penny for them.

  19. So the bullpen logjam continues: Kimbrel, Carpenter, S.Simmons, J.Johnson, Grilli, Avilan, Shreve, Hale, Russell, Vizcaino, with multiple arms waiting in the minors. It might be time to stretch Vizzy back out as a starter.

  20. It might be wishful thinking, but this seems like a prequel to a bigger plan. What team is in need of a few bullpen pieces and an Evan Gattis type player? The Texas Rangers, that’s who.

  21. 38 – I was thinking the same thing. It’s a precursor to another move or moves.

    Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy the holiday season!

  22. Awesome Christmas present, Stu.

    Maybe in Grilli’s book there’s a chapter about how he secretly knows how to pitch left-handed?

  23. Merry Christmas everyone!

    ‘The Braves still have approximately $12 million to spend as they attempt to complete their roster reconstruction by signing a starting pitcher, a backup catcher and a bench player who would be targeted to serve as the primary pinch-hitter.’

    Well so much for my hope that Bethancourt was the backup catcher. I guess everyone will be trying to pull popups to left field this upcoming season. That alone should be a good reason to watch games.

    Shouldn’t Bowman have said roster destruction?

    edit: Grilli may be more of a douche than Teixeira.

  24. @29

    Don’t know how to plug it into the WAR math, but I think he’d have to play Heyward-level defense for that to happen. Maybe not 2014 Heyward (32 runs saved) good, but excellent-but-not-OMG 2010-2013 Heyward good. It’s hard to be an above average player if you’re a terrible hitter.

    The math is a lot more transparent in Total Runs. Take Heyward’s 2014 line: 83 runs created; 32 runs saved; 1 baserunning run; positional adjustment of 18 runs (the right field adjustment prorated down a couple runs because he missed 13 games). That’s a total of 134 runs, which ranked 9th in baseball.

    Then we’ll substituted BJ’s 49 runs created for Heyward’s 83, which would mean BJ put up his batting line and a Heyward-esque defensive line. That’s good for 100 runs.

    The 2014 Braves total run scores from best to worst, with Fake-Elite-Corner-Outfield BJ (FECOBJ) worked in, as well as a Fake Great (20 runs saved) one and a Fake Fine (10 runs saved) one:

    Heyward — 134
    Freeman — 109
    J. Upton — 109
    Andrelton “Hollywood Cole” Simmons — 102
    FECOBJ — 100
    Teheran — 96
    FGCOBJ — 88
    FFCOBJ — 78
    Wood — 76
    Harang — 71
    Gattis — 71
    Santana — 69
    B.J. Upton — 69
    Johnson — 62
    Minor — 42
    Kimbrel — 36

    If we have someone else who can play center field–BJ wasn’t so hot out there in 2014–BJ could be worth a look in a corner. Then, if he really shows off out there, it could be a big boost.

  25. And just because! Another reminder not to be down on Nick Markakis. (And another reminder about how nice it would have been to have had Heyward AND Markakis rather than one or the other.)

    Nick Markakis — 98
    Shelby Miller 2013 — 77
    Shelby Miller 2014 — 68
    Alberto Callaspo — 36
    Jason Grilli — 21

  26. Indeed, that was a great gift, Stu. I have a whipping boy long before spring training even starts!

  27. #41
    That’s pretty great.

    Another weird thing about Jason Grilli: For some reason, every so often, this guy calls WFAN sports radio here in NYC to talk about… Jason Grilli.

    I know that Grilli is from the area (Upstate/Jersey), but usually the call is a bit of a non sequitur. The conversation would be about LeBron’s legacy or Rex Ryan’s most preposterous pronouncements (a rich convo), and this guy will call up and say, “You know who the Yankees could use in the bullpen? Jason Grilli! He just had another great year in Pittsburgh & yadda-yadda.”

    And the host, Mike Francesa, whose ego easily trumps Grilli’s triple-fold, will reply, “Who’s Jason Grilli?”

    Maybe this guy is PR for the book publisher, or his cousin…

  28. Bullpen arms are what you spend money on when your team is basically done and you’ve got some extra cash floating around. In the context of a team that’s dumped its best players of late, it’s a move that doesn’t move the needle much one way or another.

    That doesn’t mean signings like Grilli can’t be useful; he might get dealt mid-season and return something useful, which is nice. But I honestly think he’s there so the Braves will have someone worthwhile to get saves once they deal Kimbrel to a contender in June or July.

  29. 8.5 million for 1.5 years of Medlen sounds much better than 8.25 million for 2 of Grilli. Maybe I’m missing something, but this is puzzling. Any word on Beachy?

  30. We can be a good deal more certain that Grilli can actually pitch…

    Just watch, now I bet Grilli won’t be able to actually pitch, and Medlen will.

  31. It’s curious that folks don’t seem to grasp that the odds against a pitcher overcoming a second TJ are huge.

  32. Hart said yesterday he’s not dealing Kimbrel. I think the Braves know their team isn’t very competitive and the farm sucks. However, if the offense stays down maybe we have enough good pitching to keep us competitive. If not, we will look to bolster the farm system with our bullpen guys come July.

  33. @52-You do realize that the success rate for second Tommy John surgeries is not that much lower than for the first, right? Like, we have actual data that shows you don’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about, right?

    But, please, do tell me what the odds are that a 38 year old will recover from being a world class douchebag.

  34. @54
    That’s a bit harsh, especially for Christmas Eve.

    In regards to 2nd TJ. It’s likely 1.5 years, not 1 year, and with the players listed as 2nd TJ survivors, their stuff seemed to take almost 2 years to recover, with some not recovering at all.

    Soria, from injury to first pitch in the Majors- 22 months.
    Wilson was a year but arguably hasn’t pitched effective since.
    Capuano was 15 months, but he didn’t pitch for 2 years (in minors or majors), and I’m not sure how someone can say his recovery time was only 15 months.

    The results are inconclusive because there hasn’t been enough innings on the 2nd TJ arms. Chris Capuano is about the only player that can be credited real long-term success from a 2nd procedure.

    Of 10 most successful 2nd TJ candidates in the MLB, only 2 has been nearly as good as their prior numbers and that is Capuano and Shawn Kelley.

    So successful? Sure the ligament is attached and players recover. Good pitchers after the 2nd? Not many with the current data.

  35. Well there’s that.

    I’ll admit my assertion was based on anecdotal evidence. Outside of Capuano I hadn’t heard that anyone was any good after a second TJ.

  36. Offer me a scientific rationale as to why, if the surgery is successful and the tendon and elbow are sound, a pitcher’s performance would be different after a second TJ as opposed to a first.

    A much better theory is that pitchers who get a second TJ are more likely to be older and therefore otherwise already in decline. Kris Medlen, however, is four years younger than Brian Wilson and has never been a power pitcher. Chris Capuano, on the other hand, was only a year younger than Medlen when he had his second TJ and his skillset is actually a good comp.

    If anyone looks at the actual data and believes that it was a better idea to pay Jason Grilli the same money that could have been used to retain Kris Medlen, then they deserve to be a fan of this team.

  37. Braves just signed AJ Pierzynski and the scoop came from an overheard conversation at a coffee shop. Funny.
    Edit: Apparently the scoop came from former Smashing Pumpkins drummer.

  38. Here’s the guy we just signed…

    “In a Men’s Journal survey of 100 Major League Baseball players, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was voted “most hated player” with 34% of the votes. “He likes to talk a lot of sh**, and I’ve heard he’s a bad teammate,” one National League pitcher tells Men’s Journal. “He’s been a prick to guys on his own pitching staff. Basically, if you haven’t got five years in the big leagues, he treats you like you’re a peasant. He’s that kind of guy.”

    Joy.

  39. @mlbbowman: The #Braves will have to eventually create a 40-man spot for Pierzyynski. They’ve recently talked to some clubs about LHP Luis Avilan.

  40. This team is going to be absolutely unwatchable next year. Maybe it all works out in the long term, but 2015 is going to be a shitshow.

  41. Besides the fact that Pierzynski is a reknown bastard and I don’t want to root for him, I have to question his addition as it relates to Bethancourt.

    Isn’t Bethancourt reported to have work-ethic issues? If this team really believes Beth’s going to be the Catcher-of-the-Future, wouldn’t it be worth the investment in bringing in a qualified role model? Having failed to pony up a little extra for David Ross, I’d still argue that if the team is going to be lousy, and the pickin’s are slim, Jose Molina would even be a better choice.

  42. AJP is a better hitter than Ross. Over all AJP has been a better player. Plus Ross signrd for 2 years. The Braves were right not to commit to a 38 year old catcher for 2 years.

  43. Sure, anytime you can get a better player for a discount just because he’s a terrible human being and no one wants him anywhere near their club, you gotta do it, but ESPECIALLY when you’re rebuilding and trying to groom young players. That’s precisely when you need that extra .050 WRC+ out of the backup catcher’s spot: it could make the difference between coming in 4 games behind the 2nd place team, and coming in 5 games behind the 2nd place team.

  44. RF Markakis
    2b Peterson
    1b Freeman
    LF Gattis
    3b Johnson
    CF Upton
    SS Simmons
    C Bethancourt

    After Gattis that lineup is just…*shudder*

  45. Team’s going nowhere in 2016 either – two years of Ross would’ve been many times better for everyone involved.

  46. I feel like everyone here missed the memo:
    “If you play with him, you hate him a little less” -Ozzie Guillen

  47. Pierzynski? Yuck. I think I just officially gave up on this season. Not Merry Christmas to us.

    @62 He’s that bad to guys with less than 5 years of experience? That’s basically our entire team. Great.

  48. If we’re going to lose, we might as well be professional-wrestling-villain-level detestable. The more douchebaggy at this point, the better. The Braves = Vince MacMahon

  49. As much as I do not like Pierzynski, maybe he will be good for Bethancourt’s development. Yes, he has a history of treating young players like they are less than nothing. This could possible make Bethancourt shape up out of spite to the veteran. The guy has basically been our number one prospect since the day he got here. Maybe being taken down a notch by a douchebag of a veteran will make him work harder on his deficiencies on offense.

    Maybe, he can get Julio to stop shaking off so many pitches the catchers are calling for, too.

    Basically, I am just trying to find some good out of this situation at the moment.

  50. Basically, I am just trying to find some good out of this situation at the moment.

    It’s a one-year deal, and you probably won’t be paying much attention to the Atlanta Braves by August of 2015.

  51. Well, for all the people who make this the best place to hang out on teh interwebz – Merry Christmas, Happy Huannakah, Super Solstice, or whatever winter holiday greetings float your boat. I look forward to another year of kvetching about the Local Nine with you all!

  52. Merry Christmas All. I calculated it and this is about the 10th year I’ve been following this great Braves blog. Long live Mac’s legacy, BravesJournal!

    And if you don’t hate A.J. Pierzynksi yet, you will after you click his walk-up song below.

  53. Merry Christmas everyone! I guess this is probably 10-11 years here for me also. Thanks for all the great times and many more. (Well maybe starting back in 2017, right?)

  54. MLB Network just finished showing Lemke, Bream, and Andy Van Slyke talking through the 1992 NLCS Game 7, which they ranked as the fourth best game ever. I had no idea that Bobby’s other pinch-hitting option, aside from Cabrera, was Javy Lopez.

  55. Think it’ll take until August?

    Well, people will probably stick around for the July trading deadline. Also, thanks to the stupid expanded wild card, the Braves can be under .500 at the end of August, and still be in the hunt. It’s been the case with other teams these previous three seasons.

  56. @74 – Ummm, ok.

    I do find it strange that the Braves or the writer of the article mention that they think AJP is going to be some kind of mentor. Maybe the FO told him that’s part of his new job expectations.

    @98 – You speak the truth. Actually if we win enough low scoring games, who knows? We do have good pitching. For us old guys that remember the 80’s this team is better than those teams.

    We have 4 good starters, a decent bullpen backed by the best closer in the game, the best defender in baseball, a championship caliber player at 1b, a decent hitting RF, and hopefully a masher in Left. Back in the 80’s it seems that all the Braves had was Dale Murphy.

  57. I don’t know who in the bullpen is especially good other than Kimbrel and. Carpenter. It’s certainly not Vizcaino who totaled 5 innings with a 5+ era for the Cubs and was previously last seen before major arm injuries. It for sure as hell isn’t Dan Johnson, who is ancient and bad. Grilli is also ancient and was not good in 2014.

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