Untouchable Angels in trade talks: Anthony Rendon
With the recent decline of Albert Pujols, the Angels have been on the hunt for an impact bat to pair with Mike Trout and make their line-up truly dangerous. The need has been apparent in the last several seasons, where despite Trout’s otherworldly performances, the Angels continued to place in the middle pack offensively. That included the 2019 campaign when the team finished 15th in runs scored, 20th in slugging percentage and 12th in wRC+.
That is why the team had no qualms about making a long-term commitment to a big stick this winter, despite having more obvious needs in their rotation. That is where Anthony Rendon comes into play.
Rendon was 7th in Major League Baseball with a 154 wRC+, 13th with a .279 ISO, and 5th with a .598 slugging percentage, while pacing the league in RBI. The Angels imagined plugging him into the line-up immediately behind Mike Trout, unequivocally increasing Trout’s value by creating less of a chance to pitch around him, while also creating opportunities for Rendon to be a run producer with Trout on base.
Is a 7-year, $245 million deal a big investment for a team to undertake? Certainly, but the Angels also understand that they have a window of opportunity to pursue a championship, and they want to take advantage of Trout’s peak years to make that push. Adding another top bat in the same age range extends that window, both now and into the future, where Pujols’ deal comes off the books following 2021.
Of course, the Angels won’t have the ability to trade Rendon immediately anyhow, as MLB restricts how soon a recently signed free agent can be traded without his proposal, and the delayed season puts that even more into doubt. Regardless, the Angels made this deal with the intention that it could have dividends down the road, even if the immediate results aren’t there. Anthony Rendon is not the next Zack Cozart, and the Angels aren’t likely to cut bait very quickly.