Just hours before the first pitch of their 60th Opening Day, the Los Angeles Angels agreed to terms on a contract extension for one of their brightest young stars.
The club and second baseman David Fletcher have agreed upon a five-year, $26 million contract extension. The Angels now have him signed through what would have been his first year of free agency, with two club options. If the team picks up both, the deal could reach seven years and total $41 million.
This is the first major signing of three years or more by first-year general manager Perry Minasian. The details of the deal as reported by the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher (no relation) are as follows:
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) April 1, 2021
2021: $2 million
2022: $4 million
2023: $6 million
2024: $6 million
2025: $6.5 million
2026: $8 million club option (or $1.5 million buyout)
2027: $8.5 million club option (or $1.5 million buyout)
The 26-year-old native of neighboring Orange, California grew up a fan of the Angels. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 MLB draft, Fletcher became valuable for his versatility, contact, and hustle. Since making his debut with the Angels the summer of 2018, he has played eight different positions.
Fletcher filled in for an injured Andrelton Simmons at shortstop who seemed to find the injured list with regularity. He had been platooned at second base with Tommy La Stella and Luis Rengifo at times the past two years. Fletcher even found himself as the every day third baseman in 2019 before they acquired Anthony Rendon following the season. He was also honored as a finalist for Gold Glove award at third base following the 2019 season.
Setting the Table for Success
Projected as the Angels starting second baseman and leadoff hitter heading into Opening Day, he is followed in the lineup by superstars Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Rendon. In 283 major league games, the 5-foot-10 Fletcher has a lifetime .292 batting average and .346 on-base percentage. His stature and playing style remind many Angels fans of another diminutive middle infielder in David Eckstein, one of the greatest leadoff hitters in franchise history and sparkplug on their 2002 World Series championship roster.
Last season, Fletcher led the American League in singles and has finished top-10 in defensive WAR the past two seasons. The right-handed hitter has led the Angels team in base hits and doubles the past two years. This contract will now assure that he is hitting in front of Trout and Rendon for the next five seasons. Angels manager Joe Maddon is hopeful they will provide plenty of run production at the top of the Angels batting order.
Angels faithful hope, like Eckstein before him, Fletcher can help get the franchise back to the World Series. A team that a seven-year-old Fletcher was rooting for just down the street from the Big A.