Atlanta Braves GM John Coppolella admitted that it was hard to trade Andrelton Simmons but that he felt the deal with the Angels was just too good to pass up. Coppolella talked about the trade that sent Simmons to the Anaheim Angels in exchange for Erick Aybar and pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis with MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
"It's a very tough trade, and a painful trade for us," Coppolella said. "We didn't want to trade Andrelton Simmons. But we felt this was too good for us to pass up. We felt like we were getting so much talent back in this deal, that if we didn't make this trade, it would be very tough for us to keep going forward with our plans."
Aybar was secondary in the trade to the two pitching prospects and some have speculated that he could be flipped again this offseason. While Coppolella isn't going to give away much to what the team is actually considering, it sounds like the plan is for Aybar to be the shortstop next season.
"Aybar was a huge part of this deal. This wasn't just some kind of prospect trade. This was a value-for-value trade that had two really good prospects in it."
The Braves also have top prospect Ozzie Albies waiting in the wings although he could be several years away from being Major League ready.
The shortstop position aside, the meat of this deal is the two pitching prospects and particularly Newcomb who instantly becomes the top prospect in Atlanta's ever improving system. Prospects are one thing, but it is not going to make a lot of fans feel that much better until some of them become contributors at the major league level. On that end, Coppolella again preaches patience and that dealing Simmons was about adding more talent to the team.
"It would have been easy to not make this trade," Coppolella said. "It would have been easy to just say, 'Let me hold Simmons, because he's a fan favorite and he makes great plays.' But I want us to get better. I want us to have good young players filling our talent pipeline year in and year out.
"I'm not afraid. Fans won't like this trade because they all love Simmons. I love Simmons, too. He's fun to watch play. We need more talent and we need to get better. This trade helps that happen."