Angels acquire INF Andrelton Simmons and C Jose Briceno from Braves

Club sends INF Erick Aybar, LHP Sean Newcomb and RHP Chris Ellis to Atlanta

The Angels today acquired INF Andrelton (ANN-drull-ton) Simmons and C Jose Briceno (Bree-sen-nyo) from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for INF Erick Aybar, LHP Sean Newcomb and RHP Chris Ellis. Today's announcements were made by Angels General Manager Billy Eppler.

Simmons, 26, comes to the Angels as one of the top defensive players in all of baseball and is signed through the 2020 campaign. The two-time Rawlings Gold Glove® winner (Platinum Glove in 2013) has led the National League in defensive WAR (dWAR) each of his three full seasons in the Major Leagues (2013-15). In 2013, his 5.4 dWAR equaled the best single-season mark at any position in MLB history (Terry Turner, INF, 1906). Simmons has also been named Wilson's Defensive Player of the Year each of the last three campaigns, earning the top individual honor in 2015.

We are extremely excited to acquire an impact short-stop and one that fits our Championship Standards," said Eppler. "Andrelton provides us up the middle foundation at a premium position for years to come. To know we have a player with Andrelton's talents, drive and competitiveness at such a young age signed through 2020 is a vital step in adding to our core group."

"I have had the opportunity of watching Erick Aybar from afar, and have great respect for his contributions to the Angels. He can do great things on both sides of the baseball and contributed to a winning atmosphere with the Angels for many years. This is one of those transactions where each organization will benefit in both the short and long term," added Eppler.

The 6'2", 200-pound shortstop once again led all N.L. players in Defensive Runs Saved in 2015 (third consecutive season) and his 113 DRS since 2012 are 24 more than the next MLB player (Jason Heyward). Since 2013, Simmons leads all of baseball in assists (1,354) and all N.L. shortstops in putouts (692).  

Simmons is a career .256 (472/1847) hitter across 1,999 plate appearances with 197 runs scored, 76 doubles, 14 triples, 31 home runs and 168 RBI. His finest offensive season came in 2013 with career-bests in runs (76), doubles (27, triples (6), home runs (17) and RBI (59).

A native of Mundo-Novo, Curacao, Simmons was originally selected by Atlanta in the second round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He attended Western Oklahoma State Junior College and was signed by Gerald Turner.

Briceno, 23, entered the 2015 season ranked by Baseball America as Atlanta's 20th-best prospect and spent the year with Advanced-A Carolina, where he posted a Carolina League leading 36% (35/97) caught stealing rate.

In 2014, Briceno put together his finest professional season, highlighted by leading the South Atlantic League in caught stealing rate (44%) after throwing out 35 of 80 runners for Single-A Asheville. Additionally, he batted .283 (89/315) and set career-highs in hits, doubles (23), home runs (12) and RBI (50) in 84 games for the Tourists. In six minor league seasons, he owns a career caught stealing percentage of 40% (146/363), as well as a .255 batting average (307/1204), with 28 home runs and 148 RBI.

The Caracas, Venezeula native was named a Rockies Organizational All-Star in 2014 and was originally signed by Colorado in 2010. He was traded to the Braves on January 30, 2015 along with C Chris O'Dowd in exchange for RHP David Hale and RHP Gus Schlosser.
 
Aybar, 31, completed his 10th big league season in 2015 batting .270 (161/597) with 30 doubles, three home runs and 44 RBI in 156 games for the Halos. The Dominican Republic native has spent his entire 10-year career with the Angels compiling a .276 (1223/4427) average with 222 doubles, 43 triples, 48 home runs, 417 RBI and 572 runs scored. A 2014 All-Star, Aybar leaves ranking in the Top 2 all-time by an Angel shortstop in several categories including games (2nd, 1,220), hits (2nd), runs (2nd), doubles (1st), triples (2nd), home runs (T2nd), RBI (2nd) and stolen bases (1st,141).

Newcomb, 22, spent time at three different levels of the Angels organization last season. The left-hander began the year at Single-A Burlington before being promoted to Single-A Advanced Inland Empire and finished the season with Double-A Arkansas. Across his 27 starts, Newcomb combined to go 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA (136 IP - 36 ER), 168 strikeouts and 76 walks. The 2014 draftee has fashioned a 9-4 record with a 2.75 ERA (150.1 IP - 46 ER) in 33 career minor league games.

Ellis, 23, was drafted by the Angels in the third round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Mississippi. The Alabama native made 26 starts in 2015 for Single-A Advanced Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas, going 11-9 with a 3.90 ERA (140.2 IP - 63 ER).