Angels finalize 7-year contract with Rendon

December 16th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- The Angels' unexpected signing of became official Friday night, and he was introduced to his new market during an Angel Stadium news conference on Saturday afternoon.

The Angels agreed to terms with Rendon on Wednesday on a seven-year deal worth $245 million with no deferred money, a full no-trade clause and no opt-out. The Angels were expected to make a splash at the Winter Meetings to improve their pitching but instead made a surprising move to bolster their offense by acquiring the best position player available in free agency. Rendon's contract is now the largest free-agent deal in club history by dollars, surpassing Albert Pujols' 10-year, $240 million contract signed before the 2012 season.

After losing out on the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes on Tuesday, seeing him agree to terms on a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees, the Angels pivoted to Rendon. He gives the Angels a potent offense, joining forces with three-time American League MVP Mike Trout and two-way star Shohei Ohtani. 

Since Rendon turned down a qualifying offer from the Nationals, he will also cost the Angels a second-round Draft pick as well as $500,000 from their international bonus pool. The Nationals will recieve a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B.

With Rendon's annual average value of $35 million, the Angels' payroll is roughly $15 million higher than last year but about $30 million to $35 million below the luxury tax threshold.

Rendon, 29, is coming off a season that saw him finish third in the balloting for National League MVP while leading the Nationals to their first World Series title. Rendon batted .319/.412/.598 with 34 homers while leading the NL in doubles (44) and the Majors in RBIs (126). He struck out 86 times compared to 80 walks. He was an All-Star for the first time and won his second Silver Slugger Award, also winning in '14.

Rendon, a Houston native, has played his entire seven-year career with the Nationals since being the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 Draft. He's a career .290/.369/.490 hitter with 136 homers, 245 doubles and 546 RBIs in 916 games. He's also regarded as a solid defender and has been durable, playing in at least 136 games in five of the last six seasons.

Rendon has also fared well in the postseason, slashing .282/.370/.479 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 31 games. He batted .328/.413/.590 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 17 playoff games in '19. He hit two huge home runs in the Series against the Astros, the second coming off Zack Greinke in Game 7 to help spark Washington's decisive comeback.

Rendon will become the Angels' everyday third baseman, a position that wasn't expected to be a need for the Angels because of the emergence of David Fletcher. 

Fletcher is expected to now see action mostly at second base with the potential to play the outfield, especially with Tommy La Stella also on the roster. Luis Rengifo gives the Angels additional depth at second base, while La Stella could also play first base in a pairing with Pujols.

The Angels could also trade one of those extra infielders, such as Rengifo or fellow youngster Matt Thaiss, to acquire pitching. The club is still interested in acquiring a top-tier starter and has been linked to David Price (Red Sox) and the Indians' Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco in recent days. The Angels are also still active in free agency and have reported interest in both Hyun-Jin Ryu and Madison Bumgarner.