Andrelton Simmons is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2020 season, but the Los Angeles Angels have yet to engage him on extension talks.
Leading up to the 2020 MLB Trade Deadline, Andrelton Simmons was a popular name on the rumor mill. However, the Angels either couldn’t find a trade partner or opted not to move the veteran shortstop, leading to speculation that he may in fact return to the team in 2021.
If he does, the talks between the two parties will likely wait until the offseason.
In talking with the media Tuesday, including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Simmons acknowledged that he has not yet engaged in extension talks with Angels.
"“Maybe my agent heard something, but not me,” he said."
Despite acknowledging this desire to potentially return to the team long-term, it is hardly surprising to see the Angels playing the wait-and-see game with their starting shortstop. Now 12 days past his 31st birthday, the Halos are seemingly going to let the season play itself out before deciding how to proceed.
Part of that reason is a concern about health. Simmons missed nearly a month of the shortened season due to an ankle sprain. This marks the second-straight season marred by an injury to the same ankle, with Simmons also missing 59 games in 2019 due to the injury.
On the other side of the coin is the juxtaposition of what Simmons brings to the team.
He’s always been an all-world fielder at shortstop, and despite the ankle injuries, still rates positively at the position with a 9.9 UZR/150 and 21 out-of-zone plays this season. However, his Revised Zone Rating has dipped to a career-low .737 and he’s yet to accrue any defensive runs saved this season, showing that there is at least some impact to his mobility due to the repeated ankle injuries.
Then there are his offensive contributions.
Never a hero with the bat, Simmons showed some improvements upon coming over to the Angels, peaking in 2018 with a .292/.337/.417 slash line and a 108 wRC+. However, he’s dipped tremendously over the last two seasons, hitting a combined .271/.318/.364 with an 85 wRC+. Even that is a mirage though, as his 2020 batting line is boosted by an unsustainable .345 BABIP.
What options do the Angels have with Andrelton Simmons?
The Angels are opting to play the wait-and-see game is that they have the luxury of holding all the cards. The team would love to have Simmons back, but they want to do so on their terms, knowing that they have internal options to replace him, but that it will impact other areas of their roster.
While a long-term extension likely isn’t in the mix, the Angels could look to bring back Simmons on a short-term deal. Namely, the first step that will likely happen will the team will extend Simmons a qualifying offer following the season. That will ensure the shortstop returns to the team on a one-year salary near $18 million or that the team will recoup a draft pick if he signs elsewhere.
With David Fletcher already in the mix to potentially succeed Simmons at shortstop, a one-year stop-gap deal would benefit the team and allow them to develop other middle infield prospects to slide in at second base. The team already has Luis Rengifo and Jahmai Jones on the 40-man roster, and Jeremiah Jackson on the horizon as a top prospect.
Of course, the Angels could opt to let Simmons go and not try to saddle themselves with an $18 million salary next season. That will give them more flexibility to chase after some much-needed starting pitching during free agency.
Needless to say, the ball is in the Angels hands when it comes to Andrelton Simmons’ future in Anaheim. It’ll be interesting to see what goes down after the next two months.