Cubs: Andrelton Simmons is a badly-needed glove-first option

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

So far, the 2022 regular season has been full of injury woes for the Chicago Cubs. Before the season began, everyone knew it would be a long shot for the team to surprise everyone and contend. But, things haven’t gone their way, Yet, they have won their past three series with their eyes on a fourth with the Diamondbacks coming to Wrigley this weekend.

However, the sudden wins aren’t a sign that the Chicago Cubs are improving. Injuries are adding up, including second baseman Nick Madrigal and shortstop Nico Hoerner.  Madrigal’s 2021 season was shut down in June by a right hamstring tear as a member of the White Sox. That very injury kept him from making his North Side debut until this spring.

Though he started the season healthy, Madrigal found himself back on the injured list again, but with lower back tightness this time. He has not played his best, but a player down is a player down. If that wasn’t enough damage on the infield, Hoerner also has a spot on the injured list. This is an incredible loss because  the 25-year-old Hoerner surprised many and emerged as one of the best defensive shortstops early on this season.

But, in a game against the San Diego Padres, he sprained his ankle in a crazy collision with an umpire you had to see to believe. He’s already on the road to recovery, which is undoubtedly a good sign. Regardless, Madrigal and Hoerner’s absences have still been a blow to the middle infield. But, shortstop Andrelton Simmons has emerged as an unlikely hero for the time being given the position he was brought into.

Andrelton Simmons’ return to the Chicago Cubs came at just the right time

Simmons was activated off the IL in a corresponding move to Hoerner’s injury being announced this past Sunday. Simmons started at short on Monday after being sidelined with shoulder soreness for the entire season until this week. He is known for his elite defense – something the Cubs desperately need given the glove work of Jonathan Villar and Ildemaro Vargas.

The veteran shortstop was signed by Chicago to a one-year, $4 million contract plus incentives. On Monday, Simmons came in clutch on offense as well as defense. On Wednesday night, he made his second start since joining the big league club, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout as the Cubs’ winning streak came to an end.

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Given the lack of pop in this lineup, Simmons isn’t an ideal replacement given his offensive struggles. But getting a legitimate glove-first presence into the mix with Hoerner sidelined is key, especially with a pitching staff that loves to keep the ball on the ground. Anything’s better than watching Villar get eaten up by routine grounders, right?