In 2019 the Angels thought they were getting an impact player on the offensive side of the ball with Anthony Rendon. After coming off a World Series MVP and a tremendous 2019 season the Angels thought they were going to be set with three stars when adding Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. The Angels signed Rendon to a seven-year $245-million contract which has turned out to be a disaster.
The Rendon with the Angels
In his three years with the Angels Rendon has played 155 out of a possible 384 games. Percentage-wise Rendon has only taken part in 40% of the games the Angels have played in three years which has led him to leave no impact on this team. His stats during that time have been well below par because of this.
His stats in his three years with the Angels includes a slash line of .251/.357/.420 with a total of 20 home runs, 89 runs batted in, and 68 runs. So the offensive production the organization thought they were going to get was nonexistent. This compared to his incredible 2019 season where he had a league-leading 126 runs batted in.
Should this have been Expected?
It is hard to say exactly if the Angels should have seen this decline coming. Injuries have played a vital role in keeping him off the field which affects his production. However, Rendon was not always this star that the Angels thought they were getting. From 2017-2019 he had an outstanding stretch where he hit over .300 and was batting in close to 100 runs batted in each year. But before that stretch, he was having a very mediocre career.
At 27 years old Rendon and his agent knew he was going to get paid, it was just a matter of who would be signing the checks. The Angels threw the third baseman all the money in the world when that was not something they needed in free agency. With someone like Taylor Ward in their system, they could have gone with a cheaper option and could have seen how Ward developed. What they needed was pitching help which has caused an even bigger problem this year.
Alternate Options in 2019 Free Agency
The 2019 free agent class had some pretty good pitching options available which would have helped this team much more. The biggest of names was Gerrit Cole who ended up signing with the New York Yankees. Adding a star like Cole would have given the Angels a one-two punch in the starting rotation with him and Ohtani.
Even if the Angels did not feel comfortable giving him that money there were other names that could have been signed. They could have signed pitchers to see what they could do or so that they could compete in 2020 while waiting for more star pitching. Some other pitchers they could have gotten flyers on were Kevin Gausman, Kyle Gibson, Hyun Jin Ryu, or Zach Wheeler. All these options would have been better options than the ones they had. But signing Rendon to his mega-deal killed any chance for the Angels to sign these players.
So What Happens Next?
Rendon is signed through 2026, getting $38 million over the next four years. This is a huge amount of money for the Angels to take on. And with the amount of money owed it is going to be hard to try and trade him away.
With Ohtani’s free agency on the horizon, the Angels are going to do whatever it takes to try and resign him. But having three players on a mega-deal may hurt the rest of the roster and will hurt the weakest parts of their team already. If the Angels keep Rendon, the likelihood of Ohtani staying with the Angels becomes less and less likely.
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