Starting pitching, starting pitching, and more starting pitching have long been reported as the LA Angels targets this offseason. And while that’s a great strategy for the deprived Halos, they shouldn’t ignore one of the best hitters in the game.
Anthony Rendon is fresh off of a World Series win 17 years after #17 made the final out for the LA Angels in their line World Series victory. He was as clutch as a hitter can possibly be in a single postseason, coming up huge for the Nationals in nearly every late-inning clutch scenario he faced.
In the regular season, all Rendon did was put up numbers that are elite enough to consider him the favorite for the National League Most Valuable Player award. He flashed an above-average glove at third base as well, which has been black hole of a position for the Angels since…um…Chone Figgins?
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The point being, the Halos haven’t had a consistently above-average hitter manning the hot corner in over a decade. Rendon would end that streak, as he’s gotten better and better each of the past four seasons.
Sure, the fit isn’t obvious. The Angels already have a crowded infield with Andrelton Simmons, David Fletcher, Tommy La Stella, and Albert Pujols manning the starting positions. That’s not even to mention Luis Rengifo and Matt Thaiss, both of whom showed flashes in 2019.
But, none of those players is at the same level as Rendon has been the past half-decade. He is a legitimate superstar to slot right in front of Mike Trout in the lineup every day. Of the contenders in the postseason this year, every single one had an offensive threat at every position.
1-9, the batting orders were intense throughout. That can’t be said of the Angels right now, especially if Luis Rengifo is called upon to regularly start games. If Rendon is signed by the Angels and wearing the red and white 162 games a season, he would put the Angels’ offense right alongside the most elite in all of baseball.
While yes, the money Arte Moreno is apparently willing to spend a lot of (breakdown here) should go towards starting pitching, we saw in 2018 there is no guarantee in signing the top pitchers. The Halos pursued Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ, and Nathan Eovaldi last winter but were unable to sign any big-name starting pitcher.
However, the expectation for the Angels is no longer just to sign an ace. Now, especially after Gerrit Cole‘s press conference following the Astros’ Game 7 loss, the expectation from the fans is to ink Cole to a deal and add even more depth to the rotation.
However, if they strike out on the starting pitching market, they’re going to need to score a lot of runs in 2020. No player on the market would help the Angels do that more than Anthony Rendon.