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

Sep 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (2) throws the ball to second base during the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (2) throws the ball to second base during the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

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.


2016 ★25STL111404711212831765444160.300.369.510.879
1 Yr111404711212831765444160.300.369.510.879
162 Game Avg.1625901041774142595666088.300.369.510.879

And his defense numbers:

1 SeasonSS106102910.04131222751668.961-7-33.933.75.9754.184.15
1 Season2B102.0312011.0000013.503.00.9834.504.60
1 SeasonTOT107102912.04161232771669.962-6-33.953.74.9754.184.15

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:

5 Yrs62322952455989816352122614151222.261.308.363.671
162 Game Avg.16259764155254955743958.261.308.363.671

Simmons’ defensive numbers:

5 SeasonsSS6226115379.22855957184949432.983791314.694.51.9754.324.29
5 SeasonsTOT6226115379.22855957184949432.983791314.694.51.9754.324.29

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.

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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.

Next: Roster Prediction Before Winter Meetings

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!