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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Baseball

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.

Clayton Kershaw endorses Dodgers’ pursuit of Madison Bumgarner

Clayton Kershaw

Madison Bumgarner has a long and sometimes controversial history with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that won’t stop one star from endorsing a potential move.

Pitcher Clayton Kershaw said Friday he would welcome Bumgarner to the Dodgers if the team elects to bring him in.

A lot of Bumgarner’s past issues with the Dodgers related to Yasiel Puig, who isn’t there anymore. There’s no guarantee that the two sides wind up together, mind you, but it certainly sounds like the Dodgers are interested in the idea. That said, if this union did happen, Bumgarner might have to have a chat with a different Dodger player to make sure there are no hard feelings.

Bumgarner is coming off a season in which he posted a career-worst 3.90 ERA, but he’s known as one of the best playoff pitchers of his generation. For a team like the Dodgers, that may be more than any regular season contribution.

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.

Watch: Josh Donaldson bought his mom a Maserati for quitting smoking

Josh Donaldson

Josh Donaldson seems to know how to make a deal.

The free agent third baseman told his mother that he would buy her a Maserati if she successfully managed to quit smoking. As Donaldson shared to his Instagram account on Friday, he followed through on his end of the deal after his mother went two years without having a cigarette, and the reaction was priceless.

View this post on Instagram

Surprise continued.

A post shared by Josh Donaldson (@therealbor_20) on

That’s a great Christmas surprise, and a well-deserved one as well.

The Maserati probably won’t set Donaldson back much — he looks poised to become a very wealthy man quite soon, with wide-ranging interest in his services. It seems he already got to give a great Christmas present, though.

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.

Report: Yasiel Puig had meeting with Marlins

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig is an under-the-radar free agent this winter, and one team might be looking to capture the excitement he can bring to a game.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Puig met with the Miami Marlins during the Winter Meetings in San Diego to discuss potentially being reunited with manager Don Mattingly and moving closer to his Miami home.

On paper, this makes a lot of sense. The Marlins need anything resembling a marquee name right now. Puig, meanwhile, would like to rebuild his value after a down year that saw him hit .267 with 24 home runs between Cincinnati and Cleveland.

As noted, Puig has history with Mattingly, the Marlins’ manager. It’s not all good history, but it sounds like a reunion would suit the outfielder just fine.

Gerrit Cole agrees to record 9-year, $324 million deal with Yankees

The New York Yankees said they were not going to be denied when it came to Gerrit Cole, and it seems like they were right.

Cole has agreed to a nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees.

The market for Cole was hot all offseason, and his agent Scott Boras indicated Cole would sign this week. That ended up happening, and it comes a day after Stephen Strasburg got a 7-year, $245 million deal from the Washington Nationals.

Cole’s deal blows away Strasburg’s as the richest ever by a pitcher, by $74 million.

Only Mike Trout ($430 million), Bryce Harper ($330 million), and Giancarlo Stanton ($325 million) have signed for more money than Cole. Cole was $6 million shy of Harper’s record for a free agent, and he’s doing it as a pitcher.

The Angels and Dodgers were among the other teams reportedly involved in the bidding for Cole, but the Yankees have won out. This is no surprise given all the reports of the offseason saying the Yankees were making Cole their total focus and top target. They were probably willing to give more years and total money to Cole than anyone else.

It’s easy to understand why; Cole is 29 and coming off a season where he finished second in Cy Young voting for the Houston Astros. He posted a 2.50 ERA with 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings in 2019.

This deal brings things full circle for Cole and the Yankees. The Yanks drafted Cole in the first round in 2008, but he decided to go to UCLA instead and became the No. 1 pick by the Pirates in 2011. Now the Yankees finally get their man.