There is a pretty big demand for middle infielders among contending teams these days. The Yankees, the Tigers and now the Rangers either have age, injury or simple lack of quality to contend with among their infielders. And with Stephen Drew seemingly radioactive, there aren’t a lot of candidates around baseball to fill these holes.
There’s one in Chicago, though: T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers have been scouting the Cubs in recent days. Specifically, Darwin Barney, who would look pretty darn good in a playoff contender’s uniform. Other possibilities: Donnie Murphy and Luis Valbuena, though really, I’d want Barney if I could swing it.
Another big free agent domino has fallen at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is signing with the Angels on seven-year, $245 million contract, per Jon Heyman.
Rendon, 29, was the top free agent position player. He’s coming off of a season in which he helped the Nationals win their first championship, batting .319/.412/.598 with a league-high 126 RBI and an NL-best 44 doubles along with 34 home runs and 117 runs scored in 646 plate appearances. Rendon also continued to play solid defense at third base. During the postseason, Rendon hit .328/.412/.590 with seven doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, and 11 runs scored in 75 trips to the plate.
The Angels badly needed to make a big free agent splash this offseason, and third base was as good a place as any to do it. Rendon will now slot easily into the middle of the Angels’ lineup along with Mike Trout. It remains to be seen if the Angels are done making moves, but they could use a corner outfielder and another starting pitcher.
Humorously, Rendon has said he’d like to retire by age 35, as Jesse Daugherty of the Washington Post alluded to on the Nationals Talk Podcast. This contract will take him through his age-36 season.