Shortstop Simmons agrees to seven-year deal with Braves

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[February 21, 2014]  (Reuters)  Talented shortstop Andrelton Simmons has agreed to a seven-year contract extension with the Atlanta Braves, the Major League Baseball team said on Thursday.

Though financial details were not disclosed by the club, local media estimated the deal to be worth $58 million.

Simmons, 24, won the Gold Glove for fielding excellence in 2013 when he led all players in the majors with 499 assists, and proved his power capabilities by blasting 17 home runs while batting .248.

He was credited with 41 defensive runs saved last season, the highest total recorded by a player since that statistic was introduced in 2003.

"We believe he is the premier shortstop in the game, and we're thrilled to have him signed through all of his arbitration years and his first two free-agent years," Braves general manager Frank Wren said in a statement.

"It continues with the theme of keeping our core together for a long time, and we think he's an integral part of that."

The (96-66) Braves ended last season on top of the National League East standings, winning their first division title since 2005 when they ended a record run of 14 in a row.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; editing by Larry Fine)

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