After losing the bidding war for Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Angels fell back on a decent contingency plan. Late Wednesday night, it became clear that the Halos were in hot pursuit of the top remaining prize on the free-agent market: superstar third-basemen Anthony Rendon.
Within little more than an hour after it was reported that the Angels were closing in on Rendon, news broke that the sides had agreed upon a seven-year, $245 million deal to bring the former Washington National to Anaheim.
The Angels are a perfect destination for Rendon, as it has been noted that he is not one to crave the spotlight. He will likely be overshadowed by Mike Trout in the Halos’ lineup, but that was exactly what Rendon was looking for. While leading the Nationals to a World-Series title in 2019 helped put Rendon into prime focus for even casual baseball fans, he is still one of the more under-the-radar talents in all of sports. Rendon has reached at least 6.2 fWAR four times throughout his career, and in each of the last three seasons. He and new teammate Mike Trout are the only position players in baseball that have accomplished this impressive feat.
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The aforementioned Cole was the Angels’ top priority in free agency, given their dire need for starting pitching, but Rendon is certainly still a massive upgrade to the roster. The duo of Trout and Rendon form a superhero-and-sidekick presence in the Angels’ lineup, bringing together two of the very best position players in all of baseball. Along with Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton, and top prospect Jo Adell, the Angels offense is on its way to becoming one of the most feared groups in the game.
So, what now for the Angels? It has been rumored that they are not finished in terms of improving their roster this winter, specifically their pitching. They have been linked to remaining free agent starters Hyun-Jin Ryu, Madison Bumgarner, and Dallas Keuchel, as well as Corey Kluber in potential trade talks. Each of these arms would significantly improve what looks to be a weak pitching staff, and it appears that the Angels are set on adding at least one of them.
While the Angels are not yet World-Series contenders, and probably not even the favorite to win their own division, it cannot be denied that they are heading in the right direction. After commiting to Mike Trout with a massive twelve-year, $430 million extension last offseason, the Angels have finally started to build a contending roster around their generational superstar. Adding championship experience in new manager Joe Maddon can’t hurt either.