Angels News: Anthony Rendon Admits Baseball Has ‘Never Been A Top Priority’
Apr 20, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) reacts after losing to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have given out some famously ill-advised contracts over the years. Owner Arte Moreno has become synonymous with giving gargantuan contracts to position players that are either too old, too injured or not as good as the dollar figure they’re making. But perhaps Anthony Rendon — who might be a combination of all three — is Moreno’s biggest misstep.

Moreno doled out a seven-year, $245 million contract to the reigning World Series champion third baseman prior to the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Four years into that seven year deal, and Rendon has played only 200 of a possible 546 games. He has only taken the field for 36.6% of his potential games as an Angel. That was unforeseen, as Rendon had played in at least 136 games in five of the previous six seasons.

He has barely been above average when he has played, too, with an OPS+ of 109 in those 200 games. But the part the Angels could have foreseen — and therefore avoided — was the fact that Rendon, simply put, does not like baseball. He has stated so openly on multiple occasions both before and after being given this contract. And at Spring Training this week, Rendon doubled down on this sentiment, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:

“[Baseball] has never been a top priority for me. This is a job. I do this to make a living. My faith, my family come first before this job. So if those things come before it, I’m leaving.”

This was part of an exchange that began with Rendon discussing his potential retirement and his level of enthusiasm for the game of baseball.

“My enthusiasm has been the same since I got drafted to be honest with you. I was actually deleting old emails because because my storage was to my maximum in my email. So I’m going back and deleting old emails. I emailed myself a pros and cons list of why I wanted to stay in the game. This was in 2014. My thought process of the game has not changed since then. I keep making it this long.”

On one hand, Rendon has a right to feel however he wants to feel about baseball and his job. No one is required to like their job just so long as they do it. However, Rendon has not been present with the Angels, and comments like this only further the divide between the player, the organization and the fanbase.

As of now, Rendon is healthy and ready to be the starting third baseman for the Angels on Opening Day. It remains to be seen what type of player they’ll be getting, though, in 2024.

Mike Trout: asking for trade from Angels would be easy way out

Many have wondered when Mike Trout — the 13-year Halo veteran — would finally say enough is enough. Trout, in 13 years with the Angels, has made the playoffs only one time and has not won a postseason game.

And yet, through it all, he has maintained an undying loyalty to the organization. He signed a 12-year, $426 million contract extension two years before he needed to as a show of faith and loyalty to the Angels. The franchise has yet to give him anything significant in return.

And in perhaps his most candid statements as a Major League Baseball player, Trout finally explained why he has never requested a trade and if that could happen in the future:

“I think the easy way out is to ask for a trade. There might be a time, maybe, I really haven’t thought about this. When I signed that contract, I’m loyal. I want to win a championship here. The overall picture of winning a championship or getting to the playoffs here is the bigger satisfaction than bailing out or taking the easy way out. I think that’s been my mindset. Maybe down the road, if some things change.”

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