With their newest free agent signing, Anthony Rendon, the Angels are finally back into contention for the AL West division. While the Angels did finish with a record of 72-90 last season, the signing of Rendon changes the whole narrative for the team.
The LA Angels made the third biggest splash of the offseason in terms of free agent signings, missing out on both Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, they secured the best third baseman on the free agent market, and arguably the best third baseman right now.
This was a move that needed to be made as everyone knows the superstar talent that is Mike Trout, and not getting into the postseason with him on your team to some fans is downright embarrassing. Of course there is a huge glaring issue still at the starting rotation, but there has been increasing news that the Angels are all in on pitching now.
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Acquiring the skills of Rendon should open some eyes to pitchers coming to Anaheim when they see the potential the lineup now has with Trout, Ohtani, Rendon, Pujols, and Simmons just to name a few. This leaves them to be considered the second favorite to win the division behind the defending champs, the Houston Astros.
So let’s look at what the Angels have to go up against in terms of the division alone, the Seattle Mariners, who seem to be having young talent on the way, but not enough to be a concern for the division race.
The Texas Rangers certainly have nice pieces that would compliment their new ballpark, but they’re main concern would be to acquire star talent to go along with the new scenery, which they seemed to be in on Anthony Rendon, till the Angels outbid them.
The Oakland Athletics seem to always find a way to be competitive even if most media coverage counts them out, they like to do business in a creative way due to their lack of payroll flexibility and they certainly have players for fans to be excited for with the likes of Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, and others to help them compete.
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Finally, the Houston Astros, who look a lot less scary to face now that their former ace, Gerrit Cole, is no longer on the team and will be facing against them. The Astros still have plenty of stars including Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve to make them the favorites yet again in the AL West, but their window may soon be closing as most of their young talent will be nearing their free agent years.
This will create a perfect opportunity for the Angels to be competitive again with their threat of a dream lineup that would certainly make other teams fear going against them. The starting rotation is certainly a major concern right now, but there should be confidence that Billy Eppler will make the moves he needs to ensure the Angels remain competitive.
Eppler, being in the final year of his contract, needed to make this big offseason signing to ensure the Angels owner, Arte Moreno, and the fans that he definitely wants continue working in Anaheim and that this was the perfect time for him to make his second huge signing, the first being the Trout extension. The Angels certainly have work to do and are not done in the constant battle to improve the team, but signing the third biggest free agent this offseason definitely helps.