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SHOCKER: Angels trade Erick Aybar and top prospects for Braves' star Andrelton Simmons

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WHOA!

In a shocking turn of events, Andrelton Simmons has been traded to the Angels. At the moment of this writing, we know Erick Aybar is headed to Atlanta, but there will be more Angels added to the tally once the dust settles. Most likely it will be some of the Halos' young pitching prospects.

Simmons, 26, was just named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year yesterday, and while his bat is nothing to exactly write home abut(.252/.301/.357), he's a defensive stalwart who saved an MLB-best 94 runs last year. The Braves are looking to dump any players in return for salary relief, and boy have they...this kid is a stud, pure athletic freak and was coveted by GM Billy Eppler during his time with the Yankees.

Erick Aybar will be making $8.5 million this coming year but after that, he's off the books and therefore alluring to the restructuring Braves. Aybar could definitely do more with his bat than Simmons, but the difference in defensive prowess makes them leagues apart. Besides, Simmons' numbers are only slightly below average at the SS position. He's worth it...of course, we don't know who else is going so i'll temper my excitement just a tad.

This is the first huge move by Billy Eppler, and it's a gutsy one. He's sending away a beloved piece of the Angels puzzle who endeared fans for about a decade, but now the future of the SS position is in the hands of an extremely talented 26 year old.

Welcome to not only the Andrelton Simmons Era, but also the Billy Eppler Era.

Update:

It's now being reported that the Angels two best prospects, pitchers Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis, are the other pieces of the deal. This gives me a somewhat sketchy feeling all of a sudden. As has been pointed out already by some of the Angels' beat writers, they've now traded away their two top prospects and Aybar, all to fill a hole that didn't necessarily exist. After Newcomb and Ellis, that already-bare cupboard somehow gets even emptier and more suspect.

Billy, I hope you know what you're doing.

Update 2:

Okay...now this is interesting. Perhaps it's Lucas Herbert? Although he's down towards the late teens of the Braves' top prospects list. We'll see, but obviously details are coming in by the minute.

Update 3:

Okay, so looks like we know who the mystery catching prospect is.

Update 4:

Billy Eppler tells us about the trade, in his own words:

Update 5:

(Turks Teeth:) For the many in the thread below who do not understand this trade, or believe it simply unarguably bad, I recommend reading these two takes by Keith Law and Grant Brisbee.

The former almost certainly knows more about prospects than anyone here, and the latter is potentially SBN Nation's best writer, and can be relied upon to give you the straight take. (If you're not an ESPN subscriber, the assessment from Law is "costly, but fair", and he goes to the mat to demonstrate that Simmons is the best defender in the sport).