St. Louis Cardinals Rumors: Andrelton Simmons Should Be 2017 Short Stop

Should the St. Louis Cardinals take a rider on a new short stop for 2017?

Improve defense.  This was suggested by GM Mozeliak as a desire for the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals in the wake of the defensive performance of 2016.  Speaking of that, the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals ended the season ranked 24th overall (out of thirty teams) with a team UZR of -26.8.  The Cubs were top-ranked with a team UZR of 73.

Let’s look at the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals UZR rankings to find these holes and where Mozeliak should devote his attention.  The Cardinals received UZR ranks of 0.1 at first base (15th overall), 4.1 at second base (9th overall), -15.6 at short stop (26th overall), -8.1 at third base (25th overall), 5.1 at right field (9th overall), -6.2 at center field (24th overall), and -6.3 at left field (25th overall).

While Mozeliak has told the world that the St. Louis Cardinals are seeking a new center fielder, he would be wise to also shop for a new short stop.  The negative UZR ranked at the lowest of all the positions on the 2016 Cardinals, short stop could take a real upgrade and improve the defense up the middle.

Aledmys Diaz, the young stud, might have improved these defensive numbers had he remained healthy the whole year.  Adding insult to injury was the fact that Mozeliak took the pitiful risk on Ruben Tejada in spring and in part of the start of the season.  That aside, lets take a quick look at Diaz’s numbers from 2016 in his limited playing time.

Offense:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2016 ★ 25 STL 111 404 71 121 28 3 17 65 4 4 41 60 .300 .369 .510 .879
1 Yr 111 404 71 121 28 3 17 65 4 4 41 60 .300 .369 .510 .879
162 Game Avg. 162 590 104 177 41 4 25 95 6 6 60 88 .300 .369 .510 .879
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/27/2016.

And his defense numbers:

Year Tm Age Pos G GS CG Inn Ch PO A E DP Fld% Rtot Rdrs RF/9 RF/G lgFld% lgRF9 lgRFG Awards
2016 STL 25 SS 106 102 97 910.0 413 122 275 16 68 .961 -7 -3 3.93 3.75 .975 4.18 4.15 AS,RoY-5
2016 STL 25 2B 1 0 0 2.0 3 1 2 0 1 1.000 0 0 13.50 3.00 .983 4.50 4.60 AS,RoY-5
1 Season SS 106 102 97 910.0 413 122 275 16 68 .961 -7 -3 3.93 3.75 .975 4.18 4.15
1 Season 2B 1 0 0 2.0 3 1 2 0 1 1.000 0 0 13.50 3.00 .983 4.50 4.60
1 Season TOT 107 102 97 912.0 416 123 277 16 69 .962 -6 -3 3.95 3.74 .975 4.18 4.15
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/27/2016.

While 2016 was not a bad year, Aledmys would have likely spent the better part of 2016 in Memphis sharpening his skills had it not been for the early injury to Jhonny Peralta forcing the early promotion of Aledmys to the St. Louis Cardinals out of the gate.

So, then, enter the ideas of picking up an improved short stop.  While this deviates from the rumors circulating of the St. Louis Cardinals shopping for a new center fielder, correcting the glaring UZR issue at short stop should immediately improve the team.  To this tune, Aledmys earned a -8.4 UZR at short stop in 2016.

I believe that Mozeliak should set his sights on Andrelton Simmons from the Angels.  I wrote about this in my roster prediction piece recently (read it by following the next post button below).  In addition to the help he can provide, I believe he can be had with the pieces that the Cardinals have to offer.  Let’s look at his numbers and compare them to the performance of Diaz.

Simmons’ offensive numbers:

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2012 22 ATL 49 166 17 48 8 2 3 19 1 0 12 21 .289 .335 .416 .751
2013 23 ATL 157 606 76 150 27 6 17 59 6 5 40 55 .248 .296 .396 .692
2014 24 ATL 146 540 44 132 18 4 7 46 4 5 32 60 .244 .286 .331 .617
2015 25 ATL 147 535 60 142 23 2 4 44 5 3 39 48 .265 .321 .338 .660
2016 26 LAA 124 448 48 126 22 2 4 44 10 1 28 38 .281 .324 .366 .690
5 Yrs 623 2295 245 598 98 16 35 212 26 14 151 222 .261 .308 .363 .671
162 Game Avg. 162 597 64 155 25 4 9 55 7 4 39 58 .261 .308 .363 .671
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/27/2016.

Simmons’ defensive numbers:

Year Tm Age Pos G GS CG Inn Ch PO A E DP Fld% Rtot Rdrs RF/9 RF/G lgFld% lgRF9 lgRFG Awards
2012 ATL 22 SS 49 49 46 426.0 228 67 158 3 31 .987 16 19 4.75 4.59 .970 4.26 4.21
2013 ATL 23 SS 156 150 146 1352.1 753 240 499 14 94 .981 30 41 4.92 4.74 .975 4.40 4.40 MVP-14,GG
2014 ATL 24 SS 146 144 137 1277.0 642 217 411 14 99 .978 13 28 4.43 4.30 .975 4.30 4.29 GG
2015 ATL 25 SS 147 145 143 1279.1 687 235 444 8 126 .988 14 25 4.78 4.62 .974 4.38 4.35
2016 LAA 26 SS 124 123 113 1045.0 545 198 337 10 82 .982 7 18 4.61 4.31 .976 4.17 4.13
5 Seasons SS 622 611 585 5379.2 2855 957 1849 49 432 .983 79 131 4.69 4.51 .975 4.32 4.29
5 Seasons TOT 622 611 585 5379.2 2855 957 1849 49 432 .983 79 131 4.69 4.51 .975 4.32 4.29
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/27/2016.

Notice the greatness?  In addition, Simmons earned a UZR of 15.4 at short stop in 2016.  Simmons would, therefore, be an instant update of incredible importance at short stop.  That said, the Cardinals would hate to lose Diaz’s bat in the lineup so he should use the winter to move to third base (something else I predicted in the roster piece).  Let’s explore this…

If Diaz moves to third base, a position he has played in fifty-four games in the minors and foreign leagues, this would allow the St. Louis Cardinals to truly part ways with Peralta.  This idea has bubbled around in rumors and makes a lot of sense to me.  Peralta has one year remaining on his contract and will probably lose value through this season rather than add to it.

Peralta earned a -8.8 UZR at third base in 2016.  While FanGraphs does not hold any UZR ranking for Diaz at third thanks these appearances coming in the minors and foreign leagues, an improvement over -8.8 should help especially if Simmons is added at short stop.

Can a deal be made to the Angels then?  I believe that a deal could be landed by offering Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, and Peralta and/or Matt Adams.  It might also take a sweetener like Luke Weaver.  Would Weaver be too much to ask?

While this might seem like too much to ask, it would not surprise me to see the Cardinals package Weaver plus some of these names to land Simmons and I would NOT mind that.

On the money side of things, the Angels might actually take interest in the likes of Weaver/Wacha/Adams, etc.  Simmons is due $11M in 2017, $13M in 2018, and $15M in 2019 (total owed= $39M over the next three years).  Weaver is owed league minimum at MLB, Wacha is arbitration-eligible (was paid $539k in 2016) and is under control until 2020, and Adams is arbitration-eligible (was paid $1.65M in 2016) and is under control until 2019.  These savings might be exactly what the Angels need as they attempt to rebuild and compete in the AL-West.

Should Mozeliak manage to land Simmons, he could then find someone like Carlos Gomez to bolster the outfield as I suggested in my prediction piece.  Bottom line is that an improvement at short stop would make a lot more sense to me this year than overspending on a center fielder.

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What do you think?  Would you love to see Simmons wearing the birds on the bat?  Would it be a bad move to see Diaz move over to third base?  Let me know on Twitter and thanks for reading!

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