Final Word: The Angels should not extend Andrelton Simmons
The long and short of it is that the Angels may be best served to see how Simmons looks through the first couple of months of 2020, whenever that may be. That will give the team a time to determine how well his mobility has improved after the ankle injuries and how that affects his performance at the plate.
From a replacement standpoint, the team lacks any true internal options that benefit them, at least in the immediate term, outside of potentially shifting costs. Likewise, the upgrade options on the open market next winter will likely cost more than the $15 million the Angels are paying to Simmons in 2020.
Of course, by going with an internal option like David Fletcher, who won’t be arbitration-eligible until after the 2022 season, the team could redistribute their funds to where they need it most, on the mound. Fletcher was worth 3.4 wins above replacement in 2019 and gave the Angels $27.4 million worth of value against that fWAR. That represents a decent trade-off against his league-minimum salary over the next two seasons.
The ability to chase arms like Robbie Ray, Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, James Paxton, and more should not be lost in this discussion. While the team will lose a little defensively by letting Simmons move on, they gain that back by being able to potentially reel in a top-of-the-rotation starter. As a team with a recent history of injuries, non-production, or striking out on free agent pursuits, having a little extra cash around to throw at a starter is huge.
Andrelton Simmons has been a great addition by the Angels over the years, and they certainly received their share of value from that trade, but knowing when to move on is an unfortunate side effect of today’s game. That will be especially true as we enter an unknown winter with clubs having financial concerns stemming from the early season shutdown.
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It’ll be unfortunate, but allowing Simmons to become a free agent or potentially trading him mid-season if the team falls out of contention, may prove fruitful to the potential long-term future of the Angels.