What Andrelton Simmons signing means for Cubs infield

The Cubs have a new shortstop, and his name is not Carlos Correa.

What does that mean for the Cubs?

It doesn’t necessarily mean Correa is out of the picture, though Simmons at the very least is insurance should the Cubs miss out on the All-Star free agent shortstop who could land a record contract for his position.

The Cubs and Simmons have agreed to a one-year deal worth $4 million, NBC Sports Chicago confirmed. The deal has not been made official yet.

Cubs president Jed Hoyer likes to say there’s no such thing as a bad one-year deal, which could make Simmons a bargain — whether he’s the Opening Day starter at short or a glorified, utility man backup.

But Simmons also is one of the better defenders at an important position.

The Cubs entered the winter in need of a bonafide everyday shortstop after last summer’s trade of Javy Báez, never mind the fact they have three pitch-to-contact starters atop their rotation.

Simmons fits the bill. While he’s a below-average hitter, he has four Gold Glove awards on his resume and finished fifth in baseball in Outs Above Average last season.

The Cubs seem to have Nick Madrigal slotted in at second base, and before the Simmons addition, Nico Hoerner was in line to get everyday reps at shortstop. They have also talked about Hoerner playing multiple positions in 2022, and he prepared as such this winter.

With Simmons aboard, Cubs manager David Ross now has more potential lineup combinations with his middle infield.

When Simmons plays short and Madrigal second, Hoerner could see time in center field. If Madrigal needs a day to rest his legs—he’s coming off a season-ending hamstring injury that required surgery—he could DH, with Hoerner playing second as Simmons’ double play partner.

David Bote is another second base option later in the season after he returns from offseason shoulder surgery.

You also can’t rule out Hoerner playing at least some short, with Madrigal at second, even after the Simmons signing.

Ross met the media in Arizona Friday after his three-year contract extension was announced and was asked if he had any shortstops in mind for the Cubs to sign.

“If I had the answer, you guys would be drooling at the mouth to know that one,” said Ross, who wouldn’t bite on the question alluding to Correa.

“I leave that stuff up to the front office,” he said. “Hopefully, soon, we’ve got some different news for you.”

Whether there’s any more shortstop news, the Cubs delivered some Friday.

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