Iglesias, who will be a free agent after the 2021 season, will replace four-time Gold Glove Award winner Andrelton Simmons and will allow the highly regarded David Fletcher to solidify a spot as the everyday second baseman.
Iglesias has contributed 13 defensive runs saved over the past six years, ninth most among shortstops (but only about 10% of Simmons' major league-leading total during that stretch). The 30-year-old Iglesias batted only .273/.313/.375 from 2015 to 2019 but broke out with a .373/.400/.556 slash line in 150 plate appearances during the shortened 2020 season. His career strikeout rate, 12.1%, is nearly half of last year's major league average.
"I think he's really come into his own over the last couple of years," said new Angels general manager Perry Minasian, who sent right-handers Garrett Stallings and Jean Pinto to the Orioles in exchange for Iglesias. "Outstanding defender, puts the ball in play, and I think contact is very important in today's game, so he brings something to the lineup. And to me, and I've talked about this a lot -- the makeup, what he brings to the table on a daily basis. This guy loves to play."
The Angels still need help at catcher and potentially first base, and they might benefit from adding a left-handed-hitting outfielder. But their biggest need is pitching. The Angels have posted a 4.49 ERA over the past five years, which ranks 20th in the majors. Addressing shortstop relatively early, without allocating a lot of resources for it, gives them more flexibility in the pitching market.
"We're looking at all areas," Minasian said. "Obviously, arms are important. We're looking to improve in the rotation; we're looking to improve in the bullpen. I think we're open to everything."