The Phillies reportedly are interested in 4-time Gold Glover, Andrelton Simmons.
As speculation whether the Philadelphia Phillies will re-sign star catcher J.T. Realmuto lingers into another week of the offseason, there may soon be clarity as to who will be the team’s starting shortstop for the 2021 season.
According to a Monday morning report from SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Howard Eskin, the Phillies have “serious interest” in free-agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman soon after added that along with the Phillies, the Cincinnati Reds and Toronto Blue Jays are among the other teams to have interest in the veteran.
“The Phillies want a player to sign a one-year deal,” Eskin reports. “With infield questions at shortstop and second base, Simmons would fill one void.”
Simmons, 31, has played nine seasons in the majors — four with the Atlanta Braves (2012-15) and five with the Los Angeles Angels (2016-20). A four-time Gold Glove Award winner, the Curacao native is most known for his glove, but has also produced solid numbers at the plate. This past season, Simmons hit .297/.346/.356, but played only 30 games after opting out due to COVID-19 concerns. In 2017, Simmons finished eighth in the MVP race after producing 38 doubles, 14 home runs, 69 RBI, 19 stolen bases, 47 walks and just 67 strikeouts across 158 games and 647 plate appearances.
Signing a shortstop to a one-year deal points toward the Phillies having confidence that 2019 first-round pick Bryson Stott will be Major League-ready come the 2022 season. The Las Vegas native shined in his first professional season shortly after being drafted, slashing .295/.391/.494 with nine doubles, three triples, six home runs, 27 RBI, 24 walks, and just 39 strikeouts spanning 48 games and 193 plate appearances.
Adding Simmons would also mean the Phillies will move on from star shortstop Didi Gregorius after just one season. The 30-year-old free-agent produced good numbers in red pinstripes after playing the previous five seasons with the New York Yankees — slashing .284/.339/.488 with 10 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, and 40 RBI across all 60 games.
Last week on MLB Network, Phillies manager Joe Girardi — who also managed the Netherlands native in New York — said Gregorius had a “really good year” in 2020 and that he “loved” being reunited with him.
“The way he plays the game, the energy, the great attitude, how he’s a leader, how he gets big hits … There is a possibility [that he returns in Philadelphia],” Girardi said. “I know that we are interested in Didi. We are trying to move all these things forward and put our team together.”
“He is a heck of a player and he had a great year for us last year,” Girardi added.
As of now, it appears Simmons is more likely to don a Phillies uniform than Gregorius. Of course, the Phillies could also stick with a combination of Jean Segura and Scott Kingery at shortstop and second base, too. Time is ticking for the final dominos of the offseason to fall.