Fletcher, entering his age-27 season, is owed $615,000 for the 2021 MLB year, but was eligible for arbitration entering 2022. It would have been three years of arbitration before Fletcher could hit free agency in 2024, but he will avoid all of that by agreeing to a long-term deal.
The deal has not been officially announced by the Angels, but it will reportedly be five years, $26 million with two club options that would extend the deal to seven years, $41 million, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
David Fletcher and Angels nearing a 5-year, $26 million contract extension with club options that could make it seven years and $41 million, source tells The Athletic.
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) April 1, 2021
This deal is a phenomenal value for the Angels, who lock up one of the best players on the team for at least five more seasons.
In 2020, Fletcher’s second full season, he broke out as one of baseball’s best leadoff men with a slash line of .319/.376/.425. He also hit three home runs and had 18 RBI’s in 230 total plate appearances.
He and Anthony Rendon will now be the core of the Angels infield for the foreseeable future, and will be a pivotal part in helping Mike Trout and the Halos reach the postseason for the first time since 2014.
Even more importantly, the extension will only be in its second year in 2022, when the mega-contract of Albert Pujols expires. It will give Arte Moreno even more flexibility when trying to build a contending roster.
Perry Minasian reshapes bullpen
If the last week has proven anything, it’s that Angels general manager Perry Minasian is committed to putting together winning rosters. In addition to the Fletcher extension, Minasian completely reshaped the bullpen in the final days before the regular season.
The Angels traded for James Hoyt while signing Steve Cishek, Tony Watson, and Noe Ramirez to contracts. They also announced that Chris Rodriguez would start the season on the 26-man roster to make his MLB debut. Of the eight pitchers currently in the Angels bullpen, seven were not on last season’s roster.