Cubs officially sign Andrelton Simmons: What it means for the infield
Manager David Ross texted Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward last week after news broke that the team had signed shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
“He’s like, ‘I got my two teammates back,'” Heyward said Tuesday.
Ross, Heyward and Simmons were teammates with the Braves in 2012. Ross has since traded his locker for a manager’s office, but the trio’s paths crossed again.
The Cubs officially announced on Tuesday that they signed Simmons to a one-year contract.
“Glad to have it,” Ross said. “I have a long history with him.”
What does the addition mean for the Cubs?
The Cubs have been linked to All-Star shortstop and top free agent Carlos Correa throughout the offseason, but team president Jed Hoyer threw cold water at the possibility on Monday.
CONTINUED: Shortstop? Cubs don’t need stinky shortstops
“Yeah, I think we’re really happy with our midfield right now,” Hoyer said. “We brought in Simmons. He’s an elite shortstop. With our pitching team, it was extremely important.
Simmons is certainly filling one of the Cubs’ biggest needs this offseason. They entered the winter looking to add a bona fide daily shortstop and plus a defenseman behind a rotation with three starters on top contact.
Simmons is one of the best defenders at a marquee position. He has four Gold Glove awards on his resume and finished fifth in baseball last season in Outs Above Average.
“It’s good to see Simmons coming,” Heyward said. “He’s going to be able to do what he does.”
Says Ross: “He’s got a great resume, he fits in well with our pitching team. It gives us a lot of versatility with moving different guys around, so that’s good.
Nico Hoerner provides much of that versatility.
The Cubs have Nick Madrigal at second base, and before Simmons was added, Hoerner was in line to get daily reps at shortstop.
They also talked about Hoerner playing in multiple positions in 2022, and he’s been preparing as such this winter. With Simmons on board, Ross has more lineup combinations with his center infield.
When Simmons plays short and Madrigal second, Hoerner could see time in center field. If Madrigal needs a day to rest his legs – he just suffered a hamstring injury that required surgery – he could DH, with Hoerner playing second as Simmons’ double play partner.
David Bote is another second base option later in the season after returning from offseason shoulder surgery. You also can’t rule out Hoerner playing at least a few courts, with Madrigal second, even after signing Simmons.
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“We have a lot of confidence in Nico playing shortstop,” Hoyer said. “He’s also an elite defensive second baseman. And we couldn’t have been more excited to trade for Madrigal [last summer].
“And I think with Nick and Nico having suffered injuries last year, we are certainly aware that 162 is probably not going to happen.
“We have three infielders that we have a ton of confidence in, and I think almost like on the pitching side, we’ll continue to add depth and give Rossy options to move these guys around.”
Arizona Contributor: Gordon Wittenmyer
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