It took some time for our shock to subside, the dust to settle and for the pieces to be confirmed, but once all of that fell into place yesterday, the huge trade of Erick Aybar and the Angels' top prospects in exchange for Braves SS Andrelton Simmons finally began to make plenty sense to us here at Halos Heaven. Yes, many of us would miss Erick Aybar, and the promise of young hurlers Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis would have to be excised from our brains for good, but most feel like the Angels got something extremely special in return for the Braves' hefty haul.
But how did the rest of the baseball intelligentsia react? Let's take a look at what some of the sport's best writers had to say about Billy Eppler's first shot fired from his Angels GM perch.
Keith Law, ESPN(this one is on ESPN Insider, but I got you covered):
I'm a little surprised by the Andrelton Simmons deal. In a market that values defense so highly, with Simmons the best in the game at the most important position, Simmons seemed like a player that the Atlanta Braves would keep to build around unless they got an overwhelming offer for him. Instead, the Los Angeles Angels sent back a return that seems fair, rather than lopsided in Atlanta's favor, so it's a good baseball deal but not the kind of home run Simmons' many fans in Georgia were hoping to see.
The Angels' side is costly, but fair: They got the best defensive shortstop in the game -- innumerate postseason awards be damned -- but gave up their top two prospects for him, which hampers their ability to make any other significant moves this winter without spending a lot of cash. Shortstop is locked up in Anaheim for the foreseeable future, as Simmons' glove alone makes him an above-average regular; the advanced fielding metric UZR (found at Fangraphs) has had him saving 57 runs over an average shortstop over the past three seasons. The next highest total at short, by J.J. Hardy, was 27, meaning Simmons' defense (by that metric) was worth about a win a year over the second-best shortstop in the majors.
At the plate, he doesn't bring much to the table, making a lot of contact but sacrificing on-base ability and, outside of a brief stretch in 2013, not hitting for much power either. There have been other players who, like Simmons, were glove-first shortstops who didn't hit but rarely struck out and later developed into good hitters for average, and if Simmons is done trying to pull the ball into the seats, I think he has a chance to develop like that in the next year or two. If he doesn't, he's still a three-win player who'll make $53 million over the next five years, underpaid in every year but possibly the last one at $15 million, and he makes the Angels a couple of wins better for 2016 (especially with several ground-ball pitchers in their rotation). That's all good, because the future is now for the Angels, whose farm system looks like General Sherman just marched through it. Twice.
Whoa...okay, so sounds like Law thinks it was a good deal for both teams, but still probably better for the Halos. Sounds good to me. Although, that last line is kind of foreboding.
Ben Badler, Baseball America:
Love the Andrelton Simmons trade for the Angels. Best defender in baseball, premium position, team-friendly deal. A player you build around.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) November 13, 2015
Ben Badler thinks it's badass. Dig on that.
Grant Brisbee, SBNBaseball/McCovey Chronicles: