Angels will be without Anthony Rendon on Opening Day
By Kyle Franzoni
Prized offseason addition Anthony Rendon will be unable to suit up for the Los Angeles Angels on Opening Day due to an injury.
Opening Day is Friday for the Los Angeles Angels, officially starting the 60-game sprint to the postseason. Unfortunately for the Halos, they are going to need to win a few of those without Anthony Rendon.
Speaking with the media on Wednesday, manager Joe Maddon announced that Rendon will likely miss the season opener in Oakland and perhaps more due to an ongoing oblique issue. However, there are no current plans to place him on the injured list.
"“He more than likely may miss a couple in Oakland,” Maddon said. “We’re not ready to do anything more than that. We think he’s on a pretty good path right now. If we could just keep him active, and get him back sooner rather than later, we may choose to do that.” (h/t Rhett Bollinger, MLB.com)"
Rendon has been dealing with a sore oblique since being scratched from an intrasquad game on Friday, July 17th, and hasn’t been active since. At the time, the injury was said to be day-to-day, and the third baseman was confident that he could recover in time for the opener. But as is the case with oblique injuries, there is no firm timetable for recovery.
The Angels signed Anthony Rendon to a 7-year, $245 million deal this past winter, after watching the former Washington Nationals third baseman hit .319/.412/.598 with 34 home runs and an NL-best 126 RBI. Rendon would ultimately finish third in the National League MVP voting and won a World Series ring in Washington last season.
Who will start at third base for the Angels in Anthony Rendon’s place?
With Anthony Rendon slated to miss at least a few games to start the season, the Angels will turn to a familiar face to hold down the fort at third.
For now, the plan is to hand the hot corner to David Fletcher. While not a traditional third baseman, Fletcher more than handles the position from a glove standpoint. The team sparkplug appeared in 90 games and played 665.1 innings at third last season, putting up a 7.4 UZR/150 and accruing six defensive runs saved in the process.
If there is one bucket that Fletcher doesn’t fill in the corner infield profile, it is the bat. While he hit .290 with a .350 on-base percentage, his power was nearly non-existent. Fletcher ranked had the second-lowest ISO (.094) among qualified hitters last season.
Also drawing some playing time at third will be Matt Thaiss. A more prototypical corner, Thaiss has the power potential for the position and showed it in 2019. In 53 games and 164 plate appearances with the Angels in 2019, Thaiss hit eight home runs and added 14 more at Triple-A.
Both will be serviceable options for the Angels in the short-term, with Fletcher likely to draw most of the starts. However, neither will replicate what Rendon brings to the Halos, so the Angels will that his oblique clears up quickly.