by Alex Poletti
Photo by Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer
Another major free agent comes off the board as NL MVP second runner-up Anthony Rendon signed with the Los Angeles Angels during the GM Winter Meetings in San Diego. The star third baseman cites the opportunity to play with Mike Trout and Joe Madden as factors, but says he was mainly swayed by the extra month of vacation time he’ll have in October by not making the playoffs.
“The Angels are such a great team, and I’m so excited to play near Los Angeles,” the World Series champion says. “It’s gonna be crazy moving my family so close to Disneyland, especially because I’ll be able to take them there throughout October without any work-related conflicts.”
With the Nationals, Rendon worked a grueling eight months out of the year. Though it resulted in a World Series trophy, the first in franchise history. It also meant that Rendon had less time to spend with his wife Amanda and daughter Emma.
“The Angels care about family. That’s what swayed me so much,” the 2019 All-Star says. “They understand how important it is for me to be with my daughter, and however many kids Amanda and I will have down the road. When I met [Angels general manager] Billy Eppler, I requested some days off for a family reunion in Texas. He said I could take the whole month and I was sold.”
The Angels have been a disappointing franchise, despite having one of the game’s premier talents in Mike Trout. They’ve only made the playoffs once during his time in the big leagues, getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 ALDS.
“We know we don’t have a lot to offer free agents when it comes to winning track records,” Eppler says. “If players want to win in LA, they can play for the Dodgers. We’re barely a big market team because of them. So we’re rebranding as the cool team that doesn’t care what you do as long as you’re having a good time. It’s a lot more lax, and I think players are really appreciating that.”
The Angels signed Rendon to a monster seven-year, $245 million contract. If all goes well, this could be the best free agent contract the Angels have signed since Zack Cozart, Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson and Josh Hamilton.