Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons is one of baseball’s most prominent players entering a contract year. It remains to be seen whether the Angels will stop him from reaching the open market, but they have held “internal discussions” regarding an extension for Simmons, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register wrote a few weeks ago. However, as of then, they hadn’t reached out to Simmons or his representatives about a long-term deal, per Fletcher.
Simmons offered an uncontroversial statement in regard to his future, via Fletcher:
“I’m not even thinking about it. The only time I think about it is when (the media) brings it up. It is what it is. All I can do is play. I’m going to try to get better in spring training and just play good and at the end of the day, we’ll be where we need to be.”
Acquired from the Braves entering the 2016 season, Simmons has been highly effective as an Angel, thanks in no small part to his well-known wizardry as a defender. His brilliance at short gives him a high floor, meaning he doesn’t have to star at the plate in order to provide significant value to his team. For example, Simmons totaled 5.0-plus fWAR in both 2017 and ’18 despite combining for a decent (hardly great) .285/.334/.419 line over those two seasons. But last season represented a step back for Simmons, who wasn’t himself because of an ankle injury. Simmons wound up with a .264/.309/.364 line and 1.7 fWAR across 424 plate appearances, though he did continue to amaze in the field, accounting for 12 Defensive Runs Saved and a 10.4 Ultimate Zone Rating.
Simmons is a historically marvelous defender, but as Fletcher explains in his piece, shortstops tend to wear down quickly once they reach their 30s. So, there would be plenty of risk on the Angels’ part in making a multiyear commitment to Simmons now, especially after he put up such a mediocre 2019 on the offensive side. A healthy Simmons may very well bounce back, though, and if that happens and the Halos don’t extend him, he’ll enter what may be an interesting class of free agents at his position. The Athletics’ Marcus Semien and the Phillies’ Didi Gregorius are the other two headlining free agents-to-be whom shortstop-needy clubs could pursue.