The Braves announced this afternoon that reliever Shae Simmons underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right elbow. The 24-year-old will miss the entire 2015 season.
A hard-throwing right-hander, Simmons posted a 2.91 ERA and 23/11 K/BB ratio over 21 2/3 innings as a rookie in 2014 prior to missing the final two months of the season due to lingering shoulder soreness. The Braves were expecting him to be a part of their bullpen this year, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that he felt discomfort in his elbow during a bullpen session last week before getting the bad news.
The Braves have brought in a host of veteran bullpen arms over the past few days, including Jose Veras, Matt Capps, and Todd Coffey, which makes a lot more sense now that we know about Simmons. Jason Grilli and Veras figure to be the top candidates to set up for Craig Kimbrel.
The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports that the Cubs have considered trading super-utilityman Ben Zobrist in order to free up payroll space, which would allow the club to address other areas of the roster.
Zobrist, 37, is entering the final year of his contract and will earn $12 million in 2019. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Cubs project to have an Opening Day payroll of about $204.5 million, just a hair below the luxury tax threshold of $206 million. The Cubs have notably been absent from the free agent marketplace, particularly involving Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, due to luxury tax concerns.
Last season, Zobrist hit .305/.378/.440 with nine home runs, 58 RBI, and 67 runs scored in 520 plate appearances. He played all over the field, logging 100-plus innings in both outfield corners and second base while also spending a handful of games at first base. With Addison Russell serving a 40-game suspension to open the 2019 season, Javier Báez will handle shortstop and Zobrist figures to be the starting second baseman.