Anthony Rendon Signing Makes Angels an Immediate Contender

Ryan Phillips
Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals / Elsa/Getty Images

Anthony Rendon has made his decision, and the 29-year-old third baseman will be heading west. The Los Angeles Angels went big and agreed to sign the All-Star to a seven-year, $245 million deal. With Rendon on board and the other moves owner Arte Moreno has made over the past few months, it's clear his Angels are all-in and plan to win-now.

The Angels entered the offseason by hiring Joe Maddon, the top manager on the market. They followed that up by getting heavily-involved in the chase for Gerrit Cole, the top pitcher available. They missed out on Cole but immediately pivoted to adding Rendon, the best and biggest bat on the market.

Moreno and company aren't messing around.

When LA traded Zack Cozart on Tuesday, in a move solely meant to clear salary, it was obvious the franchise was trying to make a big move. The Angels saved nearly $13 million by shipping Cozart and Will Wilson -- their first-round pick from 2019 -- to the Giants. The move also opened a spot at third base that has now been filled.

Rendon will bring a serious bat to the table. In 2019 he hit .319 with 34 home runs and a major-league high 126 RBIs. He notched a career-best OPS of 1.010 and struck out just 86 times against 80 walks in 545 at-bats. Rendon is one of the best, most-consistent hitters in baseball and has slashed .310/.397/.556 with an OPS of .953 over the past three seasons.

The Angels now boast a lineup that features Rendon, three-time American League MVP Mike Trout, two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher, while top outfield prospect Jo Adell is close to hitting the big leagues. That's an absolutely loaded group.

There's no indication the Angels are done yet. They need to improve a pitching staff that ranked 25th in baseball with a 5.12 ERA. Additions to the front-end of that staff will likely have to come via trade, but the Angels do have young players and prospects that could help them land pitching help. The Angels also need to find a catcher and there are several available.

Those are problems that must be solved soon, as the Yankees just upped the ante on everyone in the American League by signing Cole. Still, it's clear the Angels aren't playing. They are hell-bent on building a contender now and for the foreseeable future.