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Angels' Simmons elects to sit out rest of '20

@RhettBollinger
September 23, 2020

Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has elected not to play the rest of the 2020 season with five games remaining, the Angels announced on Tuesday before their game against the Padres at Petco Park. Simmons was placed on the restricted list, and shortstop Elliot Soto was recalled from the club’s alternate

Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has elected not to play the rest of the 2020 season with five games remaining, the Angels announced on Tuesday before their game against the Padres at Petco Park. Simmons was placed on the restricted list, and shortstop Elliot Soto was recalled from the club’s alternate training site.

"Andrelton Simmons informed the club that he has chosen to opt out of the remainder of the season," the Angels said in a statement. "This year has presented unique challenges for many and the Angels respect Andrelton's decision."

Simmons, who is set to be a free agent for the first time in his career after the season, also released his own statement.

“Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association developed an environment and system that empowered players and provided us the opportunity to decide on whether to play or opt out of the season,” Simmons said. “At this moment, I feel this is the best decision for me and for my family. We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Angels manager Joe Maddon said he was surprised by the news. Maddon found out via a phone call from general manager Billy Eppler on Monday night while driving home from Angel Stadium.

"He wanted to make sure I was holding onto the wheel properly, and he told me the news," Maddon said.

Maddon said Simmons responded to a text message and he received the message after the Angels' 4-2 win on Tuesday.

"It was very, very warm and sincere, and the feeling's mutual," Maddon said. "I'm really a big fan of this guy.

Maddon said he enjoyed being Simmons’ manager this season.

“This guy's a good baseball player, as we all know, and I really love the conversations, too,” Maddon said. “When we hear, we'll hear probably all together exactly what the reasoning was behind it. But I do wish him well. He's a wonderful young man. It's just unfortunate. He's really a big part of what we're doing right now."

Simmons, 31, batted .297/.346/.356 with seven doubles and 10 RBIs in 30 games this season. He missed nearly a month with a sprained left ankle suffered in late July, marking the second straight season marred by that same injury. The nine-year veteran has played five seasons with the Angels, batting .281/.328/.394 with 36 homers and 238 RBIs in 561 games. He also won American League Gold Glove Awards in 2017 and '18.

Simmons spoke on Sept. 15 about his contract situation, but he said he’s not sure what the future holds.

“I enjoy playing here,” Simmons said. “I've had a good time. I made good friends. I like the city. I know at the end of the day, it's not completely in my hands and I know it's a little bit of a business.”

The Angels could decide to move on from Simmons and use David Fletcher as their primary shortstop next year. But that would also leave a hole at second base, unless the Angels plan to start Luis Rengifo or Franklin Barreto there.

"David could be an everyday player at any place almost," Maddon said. "Any place you put him on the field, he's going to be an above average defender. I've been doing this for a bit. Watching him on the infield has really been a pleasure, and I can stack him up against any of the better guys I've ever had as a teammate, or as a manager. It's that good."

Maddon indicated earlier this month that he’d like to bring Simmons back.

“How could you not love Andrelton Simmons playing shortstop for you?” Maddon said on Sept. 5. “I always want to wish whomever the best for them and their family. I’m not here to negotiate for Andrelton or against the Angels. He’s just a really good baseball player that I think any team would love to have.”

The Angels entered Tuesday 3 1/2 games behind the Astros for the second American League West playoff spot and 4 1/2 games out of the final Wild Card spot.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.