The LA Angels have a lot of potential for next year.
One of the reasons they really struggled this year, however, is a couple of their high-earning players not playing well and getting injured.
These two guys haven’t lived up to the hype in general. The two contracts haven’t only been not justified this past year, but during the duration of the deals.
Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton’s contracts are holding the LA Angels back right now.
As for Rendon, he signed a $245 million deal over seven years. That’s an average of $35 million per year. In his first season with the Angels, he played well, but didn’t earn that type of payday.
He had a great line of .286/.418/.497 (.915 OPS), and always plays good defense. The issue was, he wasn’t producing many runs, either by scoring them himself or driving them in.
He only hit nine home runs and he only drove in 31. He only scored 29 times. I know it was of course a very shortened season that year, but that would equate to just about 24 home runs and 83 or 84 RBI with about 78 runs scored over a full 162-game season.
Rendon’s on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS of course were great. However, to justify $35 million per year, one has to produce a lot more in the HR, R, and RBI department.
The next year, he had his chance, and regressed. Rendon hit .240/.329/.382 with just six home runs, 34 RBI, and 24 runs in 58 games. He had to miss 104 games due to injury.
Rendon hasn’t produced like the $35 million man we expected him to be. He absolutely still has the talent, and many are expecting him to bounce back next year. One doesn’t lose talent, so I could see it happening.
As far as it looks based off of what we’ve seen so far from him, he hasn’t been worth an average of $35 million per year.
As for Upton, he’s getting paid much less than Rendon, but he still signed a pretty big deal (five years/$106 million). In 2018 (the first year of his deal), he looked like he was going to earn it. He had his third straight 30-homer season, but then fell victim to injuries in 2019.
Playing just 63 games in 2019, he didn’t get much of a chance to earn his money. He did, however, hit for good power when he was out there. He smoked 12 home runs (30 or 31 over the course of a full 162-game season), and drove in 40 RBI (102 or 103 over the course of a full 162-game season).
2020 was a prove-it year for Upton, and he really missed. Injuries got to him again, and he played in just 42 out of 60 games. He did hit nine home runs when he was on the field, which would have amounted to about 34 or 35 over a full season, but he needed to have a big 2021.
He started slow in 2021, but then found his groove. Joe Maddon moved him into the leadoff spot on May 23rd and he hit .326/.420/.600 (1.020 OPS) with six home runs and 25 runs in 25 games after that.
He ended up getting hurt after those 25 games, however, and even when he returned exactly a month later, he was clearly affected. Eventually he had to be shut down, and only played in 87 games this season.
Things just haven’t gone Upton’s way since he signed that huge contract, and we haven’t gotten that production we were banking on with that signing.
Again, Upton was playing really well before he got hurt this year. He, like Rendon, still has what it takes to turn back the clock and play like they used to in their primes. That being said, as of right now, that contract has been holding the team back.
He’s getting the last $28 million of his deal this season, and Rendon is getting $36 million. The two of them absolutely need to perform next year if this team wants to finally live up to its potential and compete.