The Los Angeles Angels dropped their third game of the young season on Monday, but they lost much more with Andrelton Simmons succumbing to an ankle injury.
They say that those who cannot remember history are doomed to repeat it. For the Angels Andrelton Simmons, he didn’t wait long for an encore.
It was May 2019 when Simmons, busting down the line to beat out an infield chopper against the Twins, rolled his ankle when he hit the first-base bag awkwardly. The play resulted in a grade-three ankle sprain and he would miss nearly a month of action as a result.
Fast forward to Monday in Oakland, and on a Simmons practically re-enacted the play. Chopping one over the head of A’s pitcher Joakim Soria, Simmons beat out the slow-roller up the middle. However, another odd step on the bag appeared to result in the shortstop turning his ankle yet again.
From a first glance, this one didn’t appear as bad as the one from 2019, as Simmons was quickly back up and walking, albeit with a noticeable limp. However, the training staff would help him off the field as a precaution and he would leave the game.
In speaking with the media after the game, manager Joe Maddon admitted that the Angels would likely be without Simmons for a game or two. However, he was hesitant to commit to any length of time without any word from the medical staff.
While it is just a small sample size of four games, Simmons had a rough start in the series against the Athletics. In 16 at-bats, he collected just three hits and has yet to draw a walk. The bat has never been a huge strong suit for Simmons, as his value is largely derived from his glovework at shortstop, where he is considered the best in the game.
His absence will certainly be one to follow for Angels fans. A free agent at the end of the year and coming off of a subpar, injury-filled season, there will be limited time for the shortstop to establish his value heading into the winter. At 30-years-old and suffering an ankle injury for the third straight year, the Angels may be hesitant to extend him at or near the $15 million he is slated to make in 2020 (before proration).
Who will start at shortstop for the Angels with Andrelton Simmons hurt?
For the time being, that role will fall to David Fletcher. He’ll slide over to short with Anthony Rendon likely to return on Wednesday or Thursday. Matt Thaiss will handle third is Rendon is delayed until Thursday.
This serves as another opportunity for David Fletcher to audition for the role in 2021 and beyond. Fletcher is off to an 8-for-15 (.533) start for the Angels and showed solid fielding at short in 2019, where he put up a 10.1 UZR/150 in Simmons’ absence. He’s arguably much cheaper, as he’s not arbitration-eligible until after the 2021 season and he’s shown an ability to be a sparkplug for the team at the plate, on the basepaths, and in the field.
That might be getting a little ahead of things, especially as we await news on how much time he can miss. However, the current economic environment could force the Angels to become very cost-conscious in the coming winter. It will certainly be a storyline to watch as the season progresses.