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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Stories by Larry Brown:

Report: Anthony Rendon did not want to play in Los Angeles

Anthony Rendon

Anthony Rendon may be playing for a team that has “Los Angeles” in its title, but he apparently did not want to play for the real Los Angeles club.

The Dodgers were reported to have had interest in Rendon, but the Los Angeles Times’ Jorge Castillo says they did not offer the third baseman a contract. Why? They felt Rendon was not interested in playing in Los Angeles.

Though the Angels have “Los Angeles” in their name, they’re based in Anaheim, which is south of Los Angeles and located in Orange County. Orange County is less populated and quieter compared to Los Angeles. The Angels receive less media coverage and attention compared to the Dodgers.

Rendon seems like an under-the-radar type of player, which makes his choice to join the Angels rather than the Dodgers fitting.

Dodgers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt:

Mike Brey has funny comment about Bill Walton, Digger Phelps calling UCLA-Notre Dame

Bill Walton

UCLA and Notre Dame will meet in South Bend on Saturday for a big non-conference game, and a few familiar faces will be on the call.

Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey said Wednesday that Digger Phelps will be on the call along with Bill Walton. Brey joked that the two would likely get lost while the game is going on.

Walton and Phelps have a big history. Walton was the star center for UCLA when Notre Dame ended the Bruins’ 88-game winning streak in 1974. The Irish were coached by Phelps at the time.

The two will no doubt have plenty of reminiscing to do, and we all know how off-topic Walton gets during broadcasts.

The game should serve as a nice background to some funny banter between Phelps and Walton.

Report: Nationals pursuing Josh Donaldson to replace Anthony Rendon

Josh Donaldson

The Washington Nationals lost Anthony Rendon to the Los Angeles Angels in free agency, but they will work hard to fill that hole at third base.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Nationals are being aggressive in trying to sign free agent Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson signed a 1-year deal with the Atlanta Braves last season to rebuild his value after a poor 2018. He clubbed 37 homers and had a .900 OPS for the NL East winners while playing on a one-year, $23 million contract. He will be looking for a longer-term deal this offseason, and there has been talk of him potentially getting a four-year deal.

The Dodgers and Texas Rangers are teams said to have interest in Donaldson. The Phillies may also be in the mix for the 34-year-old.

Mike Trout reacts to Angels’ big Anthony Rendon signing

Mike Trout

Mike Trout sees what his Angels are doing.

The Los Angeles Angels agreed to a 7-year, $245 million contract with Anthony Rendon on Wednesday night. After news of the deal emerged, Trout tweeted his reaction — the eyes emoji.

Trout isn’t ready to start celebrating yet, as this appears to be the beginning of an offseason of changes for his team.

Trout has only been to the playoffs once despite being the best player in baseball over the last eight years. He still signed a monster $430 million extension with the team and is committed to them long term. He’s put a lot of trust into the front office regarding their ability to build a winner, and he’s looking for results. The Rendon addition will help them build a contender, but they still have a lot of work to do to improve their weak pitching.

Baker Mayfield seems to think Odell Beckham wants to remain with Browns

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield spoke with the media on Wednesday and addressed Odell Beckham Jr.’s status with the Browns.

Beckham is having a poor season with Cleveland and playing through a sports hernia injury. He reportedly has told opponents to come get him. But what he’s telling opponents may be different from what he’s telling Mayfield.

Baker told reporters that he trusts Beckham and that he knows what the two talk about.

Mayfield’s comments seem to suggest the two are on good terms, or at least that Odell is telling him something different from what the rumors suggest.

The Browns made a big splash by trading for Beckham during the offseason and entered the year with plenty of hype. That all quickly came crashing down as the team struggled to start the season and has a losing record at 6-7.

Angels reportedly looking to add pitching help like Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu

Madison Bumgarner

The Los Angeles Angels made a big free agent signing on Wednesday night, and they aren’t done yet this offseason.

The Angels reached agreement on a 7-year, $245 million deal with third baseman Anthony Rendon. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi says the Angels are also looking to add a pitcher. He says Madison Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Dallas Keuchel are among the pitchers they’re looking to sign. Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray is also a pitcher they’ve sought in a trade.

The Angels missed out on Gerrit Cole, as they and the Dodgers came behind the Yankees in the sweepstakes for the ace. Stephen Strasburg re-signed with the Nationals, and the Phillies added Zack Wheeler. The Dodgers and Angels still have an interest in improving their pitching and are both said to be looking at Bumgarner.

Ryu led the league with a 2.32 ERA last season for the Dodgers and was second in NL Cy Young voting. He’s 32 though and has a significant injury history, which may cause teams pause in signing him for big money.

The Angels have Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning and just traded for Dylan Bundy. They’re hoping to have Shohei Ohtani return from Tommy John surgery. They need some more pitchers who can slot in at the top of the rotation.

Anthony Rendon gets 7-year, $245 million deal from Angels

Anthony Rendon has a new team, and it’s the Los Angeles Angels.

The Angels have reached a deal with Rendon on a 7-year contract worth $245 million, Jon Heyman first reported.

The contract is the same length and total money that Stephen Strasburg received from Washington, though the terms may be different (Strasburg’s contract contained significant amounts of deferred money).

Rendon, 29, was the No. 6 overall pick by the Nats in 2011 and made his MLB debut two years later. He has led the league in doubles two years in a row and drove in 126 runs last season, which also led the NL.

Rendon is a career .290 hitter with an .859 OPS. His postseason numbers are similar, as he’s a .282 hitter with an .848 OPS, which are good signs in case the Angels ever make the playoffs again.

The Angels traded away Zack Cozart this week, opening up a spot at third base that Rendon will now fill. He’ll team with Andrelton Simmons to give the Angels a stellar defensive left side of the infield.

Report: Angels trying to finalize Anthony Rendon signing

The Los Angeles Angels have missed out on the two biggest free agent pitchers, so they’ve turned to one of the biggest position players on the market.

The Angels are in active talks with Rendon and trying to get a deal done “tonight,” The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports.

Unlike Stephen Strasburg, who always seemed likely to return to Washington, Rendon appears like he will be leaving the Nats in free agency. The Angels have a hole at third base and traded Zack Cozart to the Giants this week, seemingly to shed salary and potentially clear space. They have money to spend and a need to upgrade the team in an effort to contend.

Rendon, 29, hit .319 with 34 home runs, 126 RBI and an OPS of 1.010 last year. The former first-round pick will likely command in the $200 million range.

In addition to the Angels, the Texans Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers are among the squads that have had interest in Rendon.