Rendon opens up about his perspective on the game

February 19th, 2024

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels third baseman has a business-like relationship with baseball and made it clear on Monday that he has other top priorities in his life.

Rendon, who signed a seven-year deal worth $245 million before the 2020 season, said he’s always had the same view on playing baseball, even back when was drafted by the Nationals as the No. 6 overall pick in 2011. The 33-year-old said his views have only been reinforced since getting married in 2017 and raising four kids.

“This has never been a top priority,” Rendon said. “This is a job. I do this to make a living. My faith and my family come first before this job. So if those things come before it, I’ll move on.”

Rendon, though, said he’s not looking to retire, as he believes he still has plenty to offer and is looking to stay healthy for the first time since the shortened 2020 season. He said he just has a different perspective than other players.

“My enthusiasm has been the same since I got drafted, to be honest,” Rendon said. “I was actually deleting old emails because my storage is getting to the maximum. And so I've been going back deleting old emails. I emailed myself a pros and cons of why I wanted to stay in the game. This was in 2014. And so my thought process of the game has not changed since then.”

Rendon said he understands the backlash from the fans but that ultimately it doesn’t bother him because they don’t know what he’s really like.

“If they want to make me out to be a certain type of person because I want to see my family more, I mean, that's fine,” Rendon said. “They don’t know me. They just know the surface level. Everyone's gonna have their opinion, you can't make everybody happy.”

Manager Ron Washington was relayed Rendon’s comments and said he has no issue with Rendon’s priorities, noting that he’s had a strong career, including playing in the postseason four times and leading the Nationals to the World Series title in 2019.

“He was asked what was important and all he said was his family and faith,” Washington said. “He’s here. He’s getting there to take this journey with us through this 162-game baseball season. He wasn’t saying he doesn’t care about baseball. He’s here and fired up and ready to go.”

Rendon said he’s excited to work with Washington, who is considered a great communicator and an expert infield coach. He’s also reunited with first-base coach Bo Porter, who has been a longtime mentor for Rendon, as Porter was in Washington’s organization when Rendon was drafted and they both live in the Houston area.

“I’ve had a good amount of run-ins with him,” Rendon said of Washington. “Obviously, he was with Atlanta during my years in DC. And so I chatted with him pretty much every time I was at third base. So we have a pretty good relationship. We have similar personalities so we click pretty well.”

Rendon knows that staying on the field is the biggest key for him this season, so he said he tweaked some of his offseason routines to get stronger this year. He played in just 58 games in 2021, 47 in 2022 and 43 in 2023. But he said he’s trying not to put a specific number in mind because he’s fallen short in recent years.

“That's a great question because I feel the last few years I've been setting myself expectations, setting goals and I don't know if I’ve been jinxing myself or not,” Rendon said. “I'm just literally just trying to take it one day at a time. If I could survive one more day. I'm happy.”