Anthony Rendon signs with the Angels
What a week for Scott Boras, eh? For the third straight day the biggest agent in the sport had one of his clients sign a massive deal, with Rendon filling the role on Wednesday. The third baseman, fresh off a championship with the Nationals, isn’t following Stephen Strasburg back home. Instead, he’ll head out west as he signed a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Angels. Rendon will get a full no-trade and has no opt-outs in the deal. It’s been clear that the Angels were going to be aggressive this winter, finishing as a finalist for Gerrit Cole and now landing the top position player on the market.
They have been desperate to build something around Mike Trout, but they’ve just been bad at it. They still have work to do to become a real contender, with two open rotation spots as well as a hole behind the plate and in the bullpen. That said, this is a fun squad to watch. With Trout, Rendon, Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons and top prospect Jo Adell knocking out the door, not many teams can compete with the top-level entertainment value. Hopefully, as a baseball fan, they can get some wins to go along with the entertainment. Trout needs to be in the postseason.
Sox Spin: With the Yankees getting Cole and the Astros still being the Astros, there’s a decent chance the Angels and Red Sox will both have to settle for the wildcard race. Both teams have moves to make before they can even consider that, but the Angels seem more interested in getting there now. Look for the Angels to keep pushing, possibly including a move for David Price.
Nomar Mazara traded to Chicago
This one actually happened late Tuesday night, but I missed it in the excitement of the Gerrit Cole signing. The White Sox have been aggressive this year, and they have added to their outfield with young lefty Nomar Mazara. In exchange, the Rangers are getting prospect Steele Walker. As others have pointed out, Steele Walker has to be a Rangers. It’s just the way it is. As for Mazara, he was a top prospect who came up very young with a ton of upside. Maybe it’s because the Rangers have kind of toiled in mediocrity for most of his career, but I for one hadn’t realized how long Mazara has been in the majors now. He’s still very young, just entering his age-25 season, but he’s just never been good. The lefty has been below-average a the plate every year and by FanGraphs WAR has never been worth even a full win above replacement. To me, he’ll perpetually be a 22-year-old with massive upside, but the fact is he has four full seasons under his belt and he’s just never been good. I get the White Sox wanting to take a chance, but I also get the Rangers moving on and in a different direction.
Sox Spin: I’m going to be honest, I don’t really have anything here.
Blake Treinen signs with the Dodgers
On a relatively weak reliever market, Blake Treinen was one of the more interesting names. You know the story by now, with him being one of the two or three best relievers in the game in 2018 before falling off in a big way both health-wise and performance-wise this past year. That led to a non-tender from Oakland, and now the power sinker-throwing righty will be heading to Hollywood. The Dodgers signed Treinen to a one-year deal worth $10 million. I was a little surprised he got this much on the market. MLB Trade Rumors projected the righty for $7.5 million in arbitration, so I figured if someone would pay him more than that they would have just traded for him. Presumably, the market grew more than teams anticipated. As far as the fit, there is real upside here and Los Angeles has been perpetually looking for bullpen help. At the same time, this move is being overshadowed by missing out on Cole and Rendon.
Sox Spin: Treinen was certainly a guy I wanted the Red Sox to take a chance on, but at this price I can’t imagine they were all that serious.
Tanner Roark signs in Toronto
The back-of-the-rotation market moved pretty quickly on Thursday, and Tanner Roark got the biggest contract of the bunch. The former Red, National and Athletic is heading north of the border to help fill out the Blue Jays rotation. He got a two-year deal worth $24 million. Roark is far from an exciting arm, with his consistency being the real selling point. He has four straight years with at least 30 starts and he’s been in the vicinity of league-average in every season. The Blue Jays were desperate for pitching help and Roark will help, but if they are going to be serious with this new, young core, they’ll need top-level arms.
Sox Spin: We know the Red Sox need at least one starter and possibly two if they trade David Price. We’ve heard about the possibility of using openers, but they need at least one real starter here. Roark was a fit, but at this price it probably wasn’t going to happen. Still, the market is moving quickly and at some point they need to get something.
Michael Wacha goes to the Mets
Here’s another back-end arm coming off the board. Wacha signed a one-year deal with the Mets worth at least $3 million with incentives to possibly get it as high as $10 million. The righty looked like one of the top young arms in the game a half-decade ago, but he’s fallen off since then. His 2019 in particular was worrisome, but with a more neutral baseball he could be a bounce-back candidate. The Mets are using him to replace Zack Wheeler in the rotation, which is a clear downgrade.
Sox Spin: You know the drill. This was a fifth starter option. It no longer is.
Josh Lindbolm signs with the Brewers
If you don’t know this name, you can be forgiven. I was planning on writing him up at some point this week, but he signed too early. Lindbolm had been in the majors for parts of seasons ranging from 2011-2017 before heading to Korea for a couple of years. He shone in that league and totally rebuilt his value. The righty pitched well enough to get himself a three-year deal worth $9.125 million guaranteed with the possibility to be worth as much as $18 million. The Brewers are another team that needed pitching help, but probably with more upside than they got here.
Sox Spin: See above.