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Angels planning to add catcher, more pitching after signing Anthony Rendon

Angels

The Los Angeles Angels finally gave Mike Trout a legitimate co-star by signing Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million contract during the Winter Meetings.

While Rendon said that he and his family considered a number of options, he was ultimately swayed by general manager Billy Eppler’s assertions that the Angels were still looking to add more pieces, notably a catcher and starting pitching.

Via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:

Rendon, though, said part of the reason why he signed was because he was told the Angels are still looking to add more pieces this offseason, especially with the rotation and at catcher. Eppler said they could add up to two more starting pitchers, but likely not two free agents, as one would have to come via trade in that scenario.

But the Angels do have some payroll flexibility even after signing Rendon, as he reportedly has a backloaded contract that will pay him $25.5 million in 2020, which is almost $10 million below his annual average value of $35 million. It means the Angels are roughly only $10 million over last year’s payroll and have roughly $40 million-$45 million before they hit the projected luxury tax, per Cot’s Contracts.

The Angels remain interested in free agents such as Hyun-Jin Ryu, Madison Bumgarner and Dallas Keuchel, while they have also been mentioned as potential trade candidates for Boston’s David Price and Arizona’s Robbie Ray.

The backloaded contract is huge because it offers the Angels more financial opportunity as they pay off the final years of Albert Pujols and Justin Upton’s contracts.

Los Angeles reportedly made a run at former Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber, but he was ultimately traded to the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, the Angels might look to sign catcher Robinson Chirinos or flirt with a deal for Chicago Cubs backstop Willson Contreras.

Regardless, the Angels figure to stay aggressive as they look to field a more competitive team heading into the 2020 season.