Los Angeles Angels
For the past eight seasons, the best player in baseball has resided in Anaheim. But the club has just one postseason appearance in that span to show for it, something they went a long way toward addressing this offseason.
Free agent Anthony Rendon, coming off leading the Washington Nationals to a World Series title, decided in December to take his bat to the West Coast for the next seven seasons, signing a $245 million deal with the Angels. The acquisition of the All-Star third baseman showed that the Angels, who gave three-time MVP Mike Trout a 12-year extension before last season, are done wasting the prime years of the game’s premier player.
Trout hasn’t played alongside a full-time position player with an OPS above .800 since his rookie season. Rendon has averaged a .953 OPS the last three seasons, fifth in the majors over that span. He’s fourth among position players in WAR, behind only Christian Yelich, Mookie Betts, and his new teammate Trout, while his 318 RBI trails only Nolan Arenado, J.D. Martinez, and Nelson Cruz.
Rendon led the majors in RBI in 2019 and became the first NL third baseman with an OPS above 1.000 since Hall of Famer Chipper Jones in 2008. Only five other third baseman in history had a season like he enjoyed (34 home runs, 126 RBI, and an OPS above 1.000): Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, Al Rosen, Eddie Mathews, and Ken Caminiti.
The Angels now boast a middle of the order that includes not only Trout and Rendon, but also a healthy Shohei Ohtani and Albert Pujols.
The deal with Rendon would’ve been enough to qualify the Angels as one of the biggest winners of the offseason, but they also upgraded their rotation by signing veteran Julio Teheran in free agency. Teheran will be in unfamiliar territory in 2020; no other pitcher has started more games since 2013 for only one team than the former Atlanta Braves ace. Over his last two seasons, he ranked fourth in the NL in fewest hits allowed per nine innings. Teheran’s biggest problem, though, is with his control after he led all starters in walks per nine innings in that span.