The Angels addressed a huge need at shortstop by acquiring José Iglesias from the Orioles on Wednesday for Minor League right-handers Garrett Stallings and Jean Pinto.
Iglesias gives the Angels a replacement at shortstop for Andrelton Simmons, who is a free agent and was not extended a qualifying offer. Los Angeles also has utility infielder David Fletcher if needed, but he is expected to take over at second base.
Angels get: SS José Iglesias
Orioles get: RHP Garrett Stallings, RHP Jean Pinto
Angels general manager Perry Minasian, in his first big trade since being hired last month, said it was important for the club to address defensive needs in the middle infield.
“Obviously, José has been around,” Minasian said. “He is a veteran player and has really come into his own over the last couple of years. He had an outstanding season for Baltimore, outstanding defender. Puts the ball in play, and contact is very important in today’s game, so he brings something to the lineup.”
Minasian said character and makeup will be a big part of any player acquisition for the Angels. Manager Joe Maddon and veteran infield coach Brian Butterfield both strongly endorsed Iglesias in that regard.
“He loves to play,” Minasian said. “He wakes up thinking about playing, he goes home thinking about playing. He has really taken on a leadership role, especially in Baltimore and guided some of the young players there. It’s not only the talent but the person too. That’s really important.”
Iglesias, who turns 31 in January, is in the second year of a two-year, $6 million deal signed with the Orioles last winter. His 2021 salary is set at $3.5 million. After that, he could join a potentially loaded free-agent class of shortstops that includes Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa and Javier Báez.
“The contract is appealing for what we are trying to do,” Minasian said. “It allows us to allocate other resources to other areas of need. This was a really good fit for us.”
Iglesias played in 39 games for the Orioles last season and hit .373/.400/.556. He was sidelined for 10 days in August with a left quad strain. That marked the fifth time in seven years that Iglesias has been on the injured list, including 2014 when he was sidelined with stress fractures in both shins while with the Tigers.
“We took a look at the medical and we are confident he is going to be productive and help this team win games in ’21,” Minasian said.
Iglesias joins an infield that has Anthony Rendon at third and Albert Pujols at first. Fletcher moves to second, but the Angels also have Luis Rengifo coming off an injury-marred season. Minasian said the Angels view Fletcher as a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman.
Iglesias is a nine-year veteran and was an All-Star for the Tigers in 2015. He originally signed with the Red Sox after leaving Cuba in 2009.
Stallings, 23, was selected by the Angels in the fifth round of the 2019 Draft out of the University of Tennessee. Pinto, 19, was originally signed by the Halos as an international free agent May 8, 2019.