Prior to Thursday’s 4-3 win against the White Sox on Opening Day, the Angels made a lot of fans happy after signing second baseman David Fletcher to a five-year, $26 million contract extension. There’s a chance the deal could reach $41 million with player options in the final two years.
The contract extension will eliminate Fletcher’s arbitration eligibility which would have gone through the 2024 season. The 26-year-old took the guaranteed money, and it’s a deal that will benefit the Angels financially. If Fletcher continues performing like he did last summer, I’d argue he’s worth more than $6 million per year.
David Fletcher Career Statistics:
- 2018 (307 PA): (.275/.316/.363) 1 HR 25 RBI
- 2019 (653 PA): (.290/.350./384) 6 HR 49 RBI
- 2020 (230 PA): (.319/.376/.425) 3 HR 18 RBI
Players who produce at Fletcher’s high level are rare in today’s era of baseball. The small-ball approach is not appreciated as it once was with the slug-first, high exit velocities we see around the league. Still, getting on base, moving a runner over, and doing all the little things are necessary to the success of any ball club. Fletcher has been able to do this and then some.
Add David Fletcher to the group of players the Angels can build around.
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Last season Fletcher posted MLB’s fifth lowest strikeout percentage (10.9%) in 230 at-bats, and had the highest and had the 11th-most hits (66). He also finished with the third-highest WAR (1.8) among all Angels players, just behind Mike Trout (1.9) and Anthony Rendon (2.1).
The new deal also means Fletcher is a guarantee in the Angels future plans. Only five players will be under contract for next season: Fletcher, Trout, Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, and Justin Upton. This leaves plenty of financial flexibility for general manager Perry Minasian and owner Arte Moreno to add the high-level pitcher or position player they passed on this past offseason.
Should the Angels plan to shake up their roster in a full rebuild at some point in the next year or two, the team-friendly contract will also add more value to Fletcher.
Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, because I believe the Angels have a solid core of position players to build on. Having arguably the best 1-2 combination in Trout and Rendon, a healthy Ohtani, and Fletcher batting leadoff gives the Halos one of the best top of the lineups in the league.
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This will only be Fletcher’s second full season, and the first as an everyday starter. The best is yet to come.