Andrelton Simmons’ OPS (on-base percentange plus slugging) for the 2014 season was .617, sixth-worst among qualifying big-league hitters. Last season it was .660, or 13th-worst. When the Atlanta Braves traded him to the Angels for Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis and Erick Aybar, they knew they’d miss Simmons the peerless shortstop but figured they couldn’t do much worse than Simmons the punchless hitter. Alas, they did.
Aybar, whose OPS as an Angel was .694, changed leagues and fell off a cliff. When the Braves finally found someone — the Tigers, poor things — to take the one-year rental off their hands, Aybar’s OPS was .607, second-to-last among big-league hitters with 350-plus plate appearances. He was worse than Simmons afield, which the Braves fully expected; what they couldn’t have known was that he’d be worse than everybody except Derek Norris with a bat.
(Simmons’ OPS as an Angel has barely budged. He’s at .661. Still a great defender, though.)
But enough about Aybar. Too much about Aybar. Let us never speak of him again. And we probably won’t, given that his trade to Detroit was the second-biggest Braves move of Tuesday evening. At 7:32 p.m., they announced the summoning of Dansby Swanson from Class AA Mississippi.
Barely 14 months ago, he was the No. 1 pick in the MLB draft. Last December, the Braves pried him from Arizona for Shelby Miller, who’s now in the minor leagues. Ever since, he has been this franchise’s shortstop of the future. Come Wednesday night, he’ll be the shortstop, period. And away we go.