The Angels made a key move on Opening Day, announcing a five-year, $26MM extension with second baseman David Fletcher. The contract will begin this season and run through the 2025 campaign. Fletcher, a client of the Ballengee Group, will earn $2MM in 2021, $4MM in 2022, $6MM in 2023 and 2024, and $6.5MM in the final guaranteed season of the deal. There is also a club option worth $8MM ($1.5MM buyout) for 2026 and an $8.5MM option ($1.5MM buyout) for 2027, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic tweets.
Fletcher wouldn’t have been eligible for arbitration until after this season, and he hadn’t been scheduled to reach free agency until the end of the 2024 campaign, but extending him will give the Angels the ability to lock in his annual salaries for the foreseeable future and delay a trip to the open market. It’s easy to see why the Angels are making this move, as the 26-year-old Fletcher has emerged as an important building block for the franchise since it spent a sixth-round draft pick on him in 2015.
Fletcher made his major league debut three years after the Angels picked him, and he has since proven that he’s a defensively versatile player who can at least offer league-average offense. He has lined up all over the infield and played some outfield, though the majority of his experience has come at second, short and third. With Anthony Rendon owning third for the long haul and Jose Iglesias set to play shortstop for the Angels this year, Fletcher will be their primary second baseman in 2021. He has fared quite well there with 13 Defensive Runs Saved and a 7.4 Ultimate Zone Rating in 100 games.
Fletcher has offered almost no power at the plate with an .098 isolated power mark and 10 home runs in 1,190 trips, but his career 10.3 percent strikeout mark is outstanding, as is his lifetime .292 average. Last year represented a personal-best offensive campaign for Fletcher, who batted .319/.376/.425 (123 wRC+) in 230 PA.
With this agreement in place, Fletcher joins Rendon and center fielder Mike Trout as cornerstone Angels position players who are locked up through at least the next half-decade.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported an agreement was close. Jeff Passan of ESPN and Ardaya reported the numbers, and Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweeted the two sides had a deal in place. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.