Just hours before the first pitch of the 2021 MLB season, the Los Angeles Angels treated their fans with a gift, signing fan favorite David Fletcher to a contract extension. The deal was very team-friendly, with Fletcher getting a guaranteed $26 million over five years with club options potentially expanding it to seven years, $41 million.
With the extension completed, Fletcher avoids arbitration and will remain with the Angels at least through the remainder of his prime years. The next time the Angels second baseman can become a free agent is after the 2025 season, when the Halos can buy out his club option for $1.5 million or pick up the option for $8 million.
Fletcher could have likely garnered a bigger deal if he waited, but his goal is to be with the Angels for his entire career, and wanted to jump start that process, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“‘I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,’ Fletcher said. ‘Ideally, if it was up to me I’d play my whole career here. I have a lot of work to do to make that happen but yeah I’m excited to get this deal done.'”
The leadoff man was not the only one excited about the prospect of being in Anaheim for the long haul. General manager Perry Minasian had nothing but kind words to say when asked about Fletcher’s impact:
“‘We want quality people in this organization and this guy is right up there with anybody else we have from a makeup standpoint,’ he said. ‘He knows how to play the game, offensively. He moves the ball. He puts the ball in play. He understands the scoreboard, understands situations. Defensively, he can play all over the field. He can turn hits into outs. He runs the bases very well. He’s very intelligent, a great teammate. So all those things combined was what attracted us to making this deal.'”
It’s clear why both sides were motivated to get a deal done before the season. Minasian, who has only been with the Angels for one offseason, has already fallen in love with Fletcher’s game. Meanwhile, Fletcher has loved what he’s seen from Anaheim as he enters his third full season.
Fletcher can now bat leadoff alongside Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Anthony Rendon for a very long time, locking up the final piece of the Angels offensive core moving forward.
Fletcher struggles in season opener, but Angels win
Despite batting just 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, the Angels were able to steal a 4-3 win from the Chicago White Sox. After trailing for much of the game, a two-run eighth inning — with RBI’s from Trout and Albert Pujols — gave the Halos the win. Fletcher accounted for one of the final two runs scored.