Andrelton Simmons Opts Out as Season Ends
Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons opts out of the final five games of the 2020 MLB season. The pending free agent put out a statement through his agency, ISE, in which he thanked the Angels organization. Although the team responded through their Twitter account, they gave little indication as to the exact reason for Simmons’ exit.
The move seems to indicate the end of his tenure with the Angels. While both sides have commented little on the possibility of Simmons returning, the timing of his decision suggests he will likely be playing elsewhere in 2021. Simmons has won four Gold Glove Awards over his nine-year career. Many believe he is one the best defensive shortstops in the history of the game. Although his offensive numbers have gone up and down throughout his career, he has been a much better hitter with the Angels compared to his time with the Atlanta Braves.
Simba is a Star
Simmons was acquired in the November 2015 trade that sent pitcher Sean Newcomb to the Atlanta Braves. The move immediately paid dividends for the Angels. Simmons 2016-2018 WAR, according to baseball-reference, was 18.5. This ranked him 5th in the MLB for hitters during that three-year stretch. In 2017, he even ended Mike Trout’s five-year streak of leading the team in WAR. Though to be fair, Trout did miss 45 games that season. In addition to the immaculate play on the field, Simmons’ team-friendly contract meant the Angels only paid him $53 million for the five seasons he has played with the club.
The Los Angeles Angels haven’t been mathematically eliminated from making the American League playoffs quite yet. They currently sit 3.5 games behind the Houston Astros for the second spot in the AL West. Plus, they are also 3.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second wild card. Both of these possibilities are extreme long-shots, but it does speak to the odd timing of Simba’s decision. While internal negotiations between player and team are usually hard to gauge, especially given rumors that the Angels will move on from general manager Billy Eppler, the timing of this decision speaks volumes about Simmons’ future in Anaheim.
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