Cubs: Andrelton Simmons started his rehab assignment this weekend
Remember Andrelton Simmons? Yes, he is still “a thing” with the Chicago Cubs. The veteran shortstop signed with the team this offseason. The 32-year-old shortstop looks to join the MLB club soon after missing the start of the 2022 season due to shoulder issues.
After weeks of not really hearing much regarding his status, over the weekend, we learned via MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian that Simmons would begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa. The question still remains, however, what will be his role on the team when he arrives.
Veteran Andrelton Simmons working his way back to the Cubs
Simmons played both games this weekend, appearing at shortstop on Saturday then serving as the Cubs’ DH on Sunday. All told, he went 2-for-7 with three strikeouts and an RBI – and will get Monday off as Iowa gets ready to kick off a homestand against Omaha at Principal Park Tuesday.
The four-time Gold Glove winner and 2013 Platinum Glove Winner only appeared in one spring training game before being sidelined. So we did not get a good look at him in a Cubs uniform in the preseason. Though, we pretty much know what type of player Simmons is, a glove-first guy with a “meh” at best bat. He had some pretty solid years at the plate with the Braves and Angels, but is hitting .250/.302/.323 with a 71 OPS+ over his past three seasons.
This begs the question of what his role will be with the Cubs. It would seem foolish not to give Nico Hoerner as much time as possible to play, and Simmons has only played at shortstop or DH (two career games) in his career. This scenario does not shape up to where you can stick Simmons at third or second some days. The bat is not worth a DH spot.
Simmons could play short some days while Hoerner either plays at second with Nick Madrigal at DH or on the bench, but that should not be a regular thing. Hoerner will also have some rest days, but again that should not happen too often. They also could DH Hoerner and play Simmons at short, though it would be nice to let Hoerner continue to work in the field given his standout defensive performance early this year, it’s not the worst option if they really feel inclined to play Simmons regularly. At the end of the day, you cannot take a young guy like Hoerner out of the lineup for a veteran on a one-year deal. If he comes in late for defense or an occasional start, fine.
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No disrespect to Simmons here, it just seems like an odd fit on this team in their current situation. If the Cubs were contending and they were looking for plus defensive depth at short, then this would make more sense. The Cubs are clearly not contenders this year and there is no reason to play a 32-year-old veteran regularly when the middle infield should be dedicated to the young guys on the team.