Over the last decade, the Los Angeles Angels have shown no fear in committing to massive contracts. It’s an approach that keeps the organization in a tough spot toward building a playoff-contending team. The Angels were dealt another dose of the reality concerning questionable decision-making, possibly already regretting its $245 million commitment to Anthony Rendon.
Angels continue rollercoaster 2021 season
The Angels entered the 2021 campaign hopeful for a push toward the playoffs.
However, it’s been a rollercoaster ride campaign for Los Angeles, hovering around the .500 mark. The team sits more than arm’s length out of the AL West division lead, currently positioned 11 games behind the Houston Astros. Things aren’t much better in the wildcard picture, with the Angels trailing by 6.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second spot.
Los Angeles has been marred by inconsistent pitching while Mike Trout has missed the bulk of the season due to a hamstring injury. As Los Angeles moves through the final two months of the regular season, it will be without the team’s $245 million star.
Angels may already be regretting their $245 million commitment to Anthony Rendon
The 2021 season has been anything but fruitful for Rendon due to nagging injuries.
The All-Star third baseman saw his frustrating campaign come to a close after the Angels announced on Wednesday that he will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a right hip impingement.
Rendon initially landed on the 10-day injured list on July 6 due to a left hamstring strain and was expected back into the fold shortly after. However, his lingering hip issue delayed that return and left him on the mend over the last few weeks.
The Angels first moved Rendon to the 60-day injury list on Wednesday. It marked his third time placed out with an injury designation. This season, he previously missed time due to a left groin strain in April and a left knee contusion in may. It limited him to lay in 58 games, where he finished with a triple slash of .240/.329/.382 with six home runs and 34 RBI.
Since signing his massive seven-year, $245 million deal with Los Angeles, Rendon’s struggled to find his footing. He’s shown flashes of his tremendous talent, but his play hasn’t been anywhere near the contract expectations. In the shortened 2020 season, he held a triple slash of .286/.418/.497 with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 52 games.
It’s quite early into Rendon’s deal, but he’s fallen into a similar regressed pattern that a few stars have done when joining the Angels. Notable players such as Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton never lived up to their huge contracts, leaving the fan base to seriously question the team’s decision-making.
Rendon may only be in the second year of his contract, but it’s undoubtedly falling toward the same disappointing path of the Angels overpaying for talent.
Must lock into Shohei Ohtani and youth movement
Beyond the Angels’ obvious need to revamp the pitching staff, the team does hold the benefit of possessing offensive talent to build around.
When healthy, Mike Trout is the face of the franchise, but Shohei Ohtani has finally emerged as one of the game’s best talents. He’s putting together an incredible 2021 season that may land him the AL MVP award as he currently leads the league with 37 home runs and second with 82 RBI.
Los Angeles will need to ink Ohtani to a long-term deal to at least lock him under contract through his prime years. Although Jared Walsh is dealing with a right intercostal strain that’s kept him out of the lineup since July 26, he’s been a highly dependable offensive asset.
Infielder David Fletcher is quickly proving his worth after inking the five-year, $26 million extension before this season, and promising prospect Jo Adell might finally make strides in his recent call-up stint in the majors. The Angels have the pieces there, but until the pitching staff vastly improves, the team will continue to remain a wild-card team at best.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.