5 teams most affected by Rendon deal

December 12th, 2019

Two teams are obviously affected by the news that has signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Angels: The Angels, the team that signed him, and the Nationals, the team that lost him. (Also: Maybe your fantasy team.) But as is always the case with a deal as huge as this one, and a player as talented as Rendon, it has considerable ramifications for the rest of the league. One move begets another, a move made by one team is one not made by another. Anthony Rendon signing with a team that isn't yours doesn't mean your team isn't a part of this.

So here's a look at the five teams -- other than the Angels and Nationals -- most affected by the Rendon news.

1) Oakland A's

The A's always have a small margin for error in the American League West, and it's worth noting that the team has particularly benefitted when the other teams in its division are in a down period. (No team has gotten more from the Mariners' two decades in the wilderness than the A's.) And the Angels and the A's are rarely playoff teams at the same time: Despite the success both teams have had since 2003, both teams have made the playoffs the same year only once (2014; neither team won a game that Postseason, by the way).

But the division suddenly got real crowded. It is now possible that their superstar third baseman (Matt Chapman), their perpetual MVP candidate, their best player right now and moving forward ... is the third best third baseman in the division, after Rendon and Houston's Alex Bregman. The A's tend to go through periods of contention followed by periods of reconstruction, and with all the A's players coming up on free agency (Chapman and Matt Olsen are here through 2023, but Marcus Semien and Mike Fiers are both free agents after this season), and the Angels arming up with the Astros still the machine they are ... the A's best take advantage of this current window while they can.

2) Los Angeles Dodgers

For all the talk of the Dodgers planning on doing a bunch of spending this offseason. They've now fallen short on both Rendon and Gerrit Cole, a year after not entering the sweepstakes for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, which wouldn't be a big deal if they had finally won the World Series their fans are so desperate for. The Dodgers, if you remember, did not in fact win the World Series last year: They didn't even make it out of the NLDS.

That led to theories that they'd be more aggressive this offseason, but so far, they've come in second (at least) to the two big targets.

President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman that "if you are always rational about every free agent, you will finish third on every free agent." The Dodgers are still a terrific team and easily the favorites in the NL West. But if they fall short in the playoffs next year, or (gasp) don't even make them, you're going to be hearing that "third place" quote constantly. The good news is that they'll have plenty of cash to go after Mookie Betts next year. But then again we said that last year about Cole.

3) Philadelphia Phillies

Once they signed Didi Gregorius, it was widely thought that the Phillies were out of the Rendon sweepstakes, though it should be pointed out that they still don't have a third baseman. They have been connected with Josh Donaldson, but now they have another competitor for him in their division other than his previous team, the Braves: The Nationals, who suddenly need a third baseman themselves. If they're not entirely comfortable with Carter Kieboom playing the position, they'll go hard after Donaldson. And if they don't, someone else will.

Point is, the Phillies, even with the additions of Gregorius and Zack Wheeler, still don't look like they've made up the gap on the Braves and the Nationals. Are they going to stop spending now to stay under the luxury tax threshold? Or are they going to floor it for Donaldson? Phillies fans are understandably getting impatient.

4) Texas Rangers

So, imagine you found your team in a very similar situation to the one faced by the A's above ... except you also were in the bidding for Rendon, a home-state guy who seemed to have interest in your team ... and you are opening up a new stadium this year … and you've had three straight losing seasons ... and your last regular third baseman was a beloved Hall of Famer ... and your current third baseman is the unproven Nick Solak

The Rangers signed a couple of pitchers to go with Mike Minor and Lance Lynn but their lineup looks worse than it did last year. They'll go after Donaldson like everyone else will, but if they don't come up with him, and maybe even if they do, it is certainly possible that the new stadium will be just like the last one: Home to a losing team.

5) Boston Red Sox

It looks increasingly likely that the Red Sox aren't going to trade Mookie Betts this offseason, and probably won't, unless everything collapses before the trade deadline. But Rendon coming to their league, and the Yankees signing Cole and looking like the overwhelming favorite in the AL East, the Red Sox's margin for error (particularly if they trade David Price) just grew real thin. Look at the American League right now. You have the Astros, Yankees and (probably) the Twins as clear favorites in each division. But there are a lot of Wild Card contenders this time around: The Rays, the Indians, the White Sox, the A's, the Angels, even the Rangers.

Most of those teams are adding. The Red Sox are subtracting. They're trying to thread the needle by keeping Betts and trying lowering payroll elsewhere. But if the team gets out to the start it did last year, and the Yankees pull away ... well, one wonders if their view on Betts, or anyone, begins to change around that time. The Red Sox are walking a tightrope. Rendon adding another Wild Card contender makes their walk that much more perilous.