After signing Jason Castro, the LA Angels have now filled every hole on their roster to some extent.
Obviously there’s still a need for starting pitching, but the LA Angels have at least put a band-aid on the problem. Now, Billy Eppler and the front office should refocus their attention on extending a potential future Hall of Famer for the second offseason in a row.
No, an Andrelton Simmons extension won’t involve a press conference between the hats at The Big A or any record-breaking numbers like Mike Trout’s did, but he’s an extremely important player for the Angels to keep in their clubhouse for the years to come.
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The case against extending Andrelton Simmons is simple on the surface. He’s on the wrong side of 30, has been injury prone, is a defense first player, and the Angels have other players who can play shortstop. Nevertheless, the Angels are a better team for the next 3-4 years if they can ink Simmons to a deal, and this may be the perfect time to do it.
Considering how disappointing 2019 was for Simmons from an injury/production standpoint, his value is arguably lower than ever. If the Angels want the perfect time to strike and find a value deal, this offseason is the perfect one. I’m not saying the extension would be dirt cheap, but locking Simmons up on a team-friendly deal would be easier this offseason than ever before.
In terms of his on-field production, Simmons is still an elite defensive shortstop. It doesn’t appear like that will change anytime soon either, even as he ages deeper into his 30’s. His instincts, elite arm, flashy glove, and quick hands will keep him valuable on defense even as his athleticism dwindles.
The Angels have some infield talent in their minor league levels, but their top prospects at the shortstop position are in the lower levels. Jeremiah Jackson looked like a star in the making last year, but did so in Rookie Ball. He’s still 3-4 years away from the big leagues, which is coincidentally how long a Simmons extension would likely run.
Extending Andrelton Simmons should be the team’s focus right now mainly because they can’t afford to create more holes on their roster. If they want to maximize Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon’s prime, they need to keep their core in place while allocating the rest of their resources to building their rotation.
If they extend Simmons at some point in January, they still have six months until the trade deadline to figure out how to improve their rotation and turn this team into a legitimate playoff contender.