The Atlanta Braves and infielder Andrelton Simmons have agreed to a seven-year contract that guarantees Simmons $58 million, according to a Thursday press release.
The Braves have been very busy locking up young players this off-season, extending the likes of Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Julio Teheran, and Craig Kimbrel. Including Simmons' new contract, the Braves have spent $280.7 million in guaranteed contracts this offseason.
The 24-year-old Simmons saw his first full season in the Major Leagues in 2013. Simmons hit .248/.296/.396 with 17 home runs and 59 RBI in 157 games (87 OPS+). Although his hitting still has yet to come, his defense was fantastic. Simmons posted a 23.9 UZR/150 (Ultimate Runs Zone per 150 games), which is Gold Glove caliber. And, yes, he did win the Gold Glove. If Simmons can boost his on-base percentage and keep up the fantastic defense, he will be one of the best shortstops in all of the Major Leagues.
Simmons was originally selected by the Braves in the 2nd round of the 2010 amateur draft. He sped through the minor-leagues, hitting a triple-slash line of .299/.352/.397 in 1,042 minor-league plate appearances. In those 237 games, Simmons added 54 stolen bases.
Simmons will be able to stay in a Braves uniform until 2020. The Braves have done a fantastic job themselves this offseason in retaining young talent for a long time in order to keep their team intact. In 2013, Simmons added 6.8 Wins Above Replacement to the Braves (via Baseball Reference), something that the Braves hope will continue as he progresses.