Angels back up their praise of David Fletcher by locking him up for five years

Angels' David Fletcher.
Los Angeles Angels second baseman David Fletcher (22) runs to the dugout for the Angels first at bat during the Angels home opener against the Chicago White Sox at Angels Stadium on April 1, 2021 in Anaheim, California.
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Perry Minasian watched a lot of film of his new team when he was hired as Angels general manager this offseason.

Of Mike Trout’s explosive swing. Of Anthony Rendon’s towering home runs. Of Shohei Ohtani’s natural opposite field power.

But Minasian found David Fletcher as intriguing as anyone. What the infielder lacked in power, he made for in contact and consistency. His defensive highlights had already become iconic around Angel Stadium. And Minasian soon learned Fletcher’s earnest disposition was equally admired in the clubhouse.


So, even though Fletcher wasn’t eligible for arbitration until next offseason, and wasn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after 2024, Minasian made it a priority to lock him up anyway. On Thursday, only hours before the Angels opening day game against the Chicago White Sox, he did.

Fletcher and the Angels agreed on a five-year, $26-million extension that keeps Fletcher under contract through 2025 and includes an $8-million club option for 2026 and an $8.5-million option for 2027.

It’s the first long-term financial commitment the Angels have made to a player in Minasian’s young tenure. It’s one of the biggest signals yet of the type club he’s trying to build — and the type of players he wants to build around.

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“The talent is there, we know what type of player he is on the field, but it’s the off the field that was really intriguing to me,” Minasian said, adding: “I keep going back to makeup, and I know I’ve said it a lot since I arrived here, but I mean it. We want quality people in this organization, and this guy is right up there with anyone else.”

An Orange County native who was drafted in the sixth round by the Angels in 2015, Fletcher plays a throwback brand of baseball. He has one of MLB’s best contact rates and, since the start of 2019, its lowest strikeout percentage. He has only 10 home runs in 283 career games, but is also an MLB-best .277 hitter in two-strike counts since making his debut in 2018.

Last season was his best, when he hit .319 with an .801 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and received MVP votes while playing a utility role across the infield. This year, he’s expected to be the Angels’ everyday second baseman. Manager Joe Maddon said he already considers Fletcher to be one of the best at the position.


“This guy is that good,” Maddon said. “He’s that good on defense, and he is that good at the plate, and he is that good of a baseball player. He’s not an analytical maven by any means, but he is a dynamic baseball player that given the opportunity is going to show it.”

Minasian and Fletcher’s agent, Steve Rath of Ballengee Group, began discussing an extension around the start of spring training.

“Once Perry and I began to talk about the concept of keeping him here,” Rath said Thursday via email, “it was very intriguing to David and his family.”

And though the sides negotiated right up until their self-imposed opening day deadline, Fletcher said signing was a no-brainer.

“Ideally, if it was up to me, I’d play my whole career here,” said Fletcher, who will turn 27 in May. “I have a lot of work to make that happen, but I’m excited to get this deal done.”

It was fitting too, that on the day Minasian’s first regular season officially began, he closed a deal that sent a clear signal about the club’s future plans.


“This is the type of guy, this is the DNA we want in the organization,” Minasian said.

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Minasian got his start in the sport as a clubhouse attendant — receiving a front-row education in what made teams tick, the way different personalities meshed behind the scenes, and how the right balance of talent and temperament could translate to the field.

Even as his front office career progressed, earning a reputation as a forward-thinking and data-savvy executive, those early lessons stuck with him. They were a key tenet of his pitch to Angels brass while interviewing for the job. And throughout the offseason and spring, he and Maddon have reiterated the desire to create a more cohesive unit in the clubhouse and turn a talented roster into a more complete team on the field.

“It absolutely supports everything that Perry’s been talking about,” Maddon said. “We’re in search of real baseball players, and you don’t have to look any further than David Fletcher to find one of those.”