Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN in Seattle was first to break the news a little while ago:
Yes, that would be former top prospect Jesus Montero. Remember him? After losing 40 pounds over the winter, the 25-year-old was batting .332/.370/.529 with 15 home runs and 68 RBI over 84 games this season with Triple-A Tacoma while leading the Pacific Coast League in a bunch of major offensive categories.
It’s unclear where Montero will fit on the roster. The Mariners finally gave up on him as a catcher in 2013, so he’s been splitting his time between first base and DH this season. Putting him in the lineup would likely push Nelson Cruz to the outfield, at least on a short-term basis. The Mariners are set to face three left-handed starters (Hector Santiago, C.J. Wilson, and Andrew Heaney) this weekend, which likely played into the timing of the move.
Things haven’t worked out for Montero since he came over in the Michael Pineda deal and it looked like the Mariners were ready to give up on him altogether at one point. Most of that was because of his own doing. But he has worked himself back into good shape and earned another opportunity. Let’s see if he can take advantage of 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.