Fletcher, Angels agree to 5-year extension

Infielder: 'If it was up to me, I'd play here my whole career'

April 2nd, 2021

ANAHEIM -- Angels second baseman has quickly become a fan favorite, and now it's clear he won’t be leaving his hometown team any time soon. Fletcher agreed to terms on a five-year extension on Thursday, the Angels announced just hours before the club’s Opening Day 4-3 win over the White Sox.

The deal guarantees Fletcher $26 million over the five years and also includes two club options that could stretch it to seven years and $41 million. Fletcher was set to be a free agent after the 2024 season but now could be under club control through 2027. The 2026 club option is worth $8 million, and the '27 option is worth $8.5 million. Each option has a $1.5 million buyout.

"It's exciting to me to know that I'm going to be playing at home for a while now," Fletcher said. "The group of guys we have here, I’m definitely happy to be here. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Ideally, if it was up to me, I'd play here my whole career. I have a lot of work to do to make that happen but I'm excited to get this deal done."

The Angels had been working on an extension with Fletcher since the start of Spring Training but finally came to an agreement on Thursday. Angels general manager Perry Minasian said it was a priority of his to lock up Fletcher because of everything he brings on and off the field.

"It's a special day for us -- he's a homegrown player and from the area -- and he's what we want to be about," Minasian said. "He's one of those players where before I took this job when I was preparing for interviews, I watched a lot of video. We obviously have some big names on this team, but the guy that stood out over and over was Fletch. ... This is the type of guy, the type of DNA we want in this organization."

Fletcher, 26, is one of the more underrated players in baseball, as he possesses elite contact skills and is a plus-defender at multiple positions. He's coming off a strong season during which he hit .319/.376/.425 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 49 games.

He’s also a local product who attended nearby Cypress High School and Loyola Marymount University. He was an Angels fan growing up and now is one of the more popular players on the club.

Fletcher has played all over the diamond, but this season he’s locked in as the club’s regular second baseman. He’s considered one of the favorites for the Gold Glove Award now that he’s playing only one position.

Fletcher is a tough out at the plate and rarely strikes out, ranking as the fifth-hardest player to strike out last season, as only 10.9 percent of his at-bats ended in a K. He also had the highest contact rate in the Majors in 2020 (92 percent). He’s not the prototypical slugger that has become so common in today’s game, but he shows that there other ways to make an impact.

"I think people value different things," Fletcher said. "I might not have some of the tools that other guys have that can be measured, but it's nice to be rewarded. I just think there's a lot of different ways to win games. For me, to help the team win, it's about putting the ball in play and getting on base as much as I can. We have guys who can hit home runs, so I know my role and what I need to do to help the team win."

Fletcher has also made giving back to the local community one of his main missions, and he made sure that his contract included money going toward his foundation. Minasian said that was the final tweak to his deal, as Fletcher's counteroffer was not for more money, but to make sure the foundation was included.

“David’s the quintessential hometown, homegrown guy who has long been invested in the SoCal community both on and off the field,” said Fletcher’s agent, Steve Rath from the Ballengee Group. “So to have the opportunity to continue this relationship was extremely exciting for him and his family.”