Addition of Rendon gives Angels powerful lineup, but they still need pitching help

SAN DIEGO - The Nationals lost another home-grown superstar and the Angels have another superstar in their lineup.

And it looks as though there are going to be plenty of 13-11 games next season in Anaheim.

Anthony Rendon, a free-agent third baseman whose late-inning postseason heroics helped the Nationals win the World Series, has signed a seven-year, $245 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Last offseason, the Nationals lost outfielder Bryce Harper, who signed a $330 million contract for 13 years with the Phillies.

Now, Rendon, 29, will join an Angels lineup that has three-time American League MVP Mike Trout, who has a 12-year, $426.5 million contract with the Angels.

Trout gets paid $35.5 million a year through 2030. Rendon’s average value is $35 million,

The Rendon deal gives the Angels their first bit of good news this offseason. They tried to sign free-agent pitchers Zack Wheeler (Phillies), Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) and Gerrit Cole (Yankees) and lost out each time.

The Angels have finished fourth in the AL West in each of the last two years, and haven’t been to the postseason since the Royals swept them in the 2014 Division Series, Trout’s only playoff experience.

Rendon, who hit .329 with 34 home runs and 1.010 OPS, will bat in a lineup that has Trout, two-way starter Shohei Ohtani, and power hitters Justin Upton and Albert Pujols, although Pujols’ best days are behind him and he’s constantly battling foot injuries.

Rendon and Trout are doing to be a dynamic duo in the Angels’ lineup, but how much support will they get?

Upton, 31, hit .215 last season. Pujols is 39 and coming off a season in which he hit .244. Ohtani, coming back from the injured list, had 18 home runs in 106 games.

Rendon hit .328 with five home runs in the postseason as the Nationals beat the Brewers, Dodgers, Cardinals and Astros on the way to Washington’s first World Series title since 1924.

If they hadn’t secured Rendon, the Angels would have likely had David Fletcher and Tommy La Stella playing third base.

But Rendon can’t pitch, and the Angels leave the Winter Meetings with a weak rotation.

The Angels’ starters had the highest ERA in the American League last season at 5.64. The rotation pitched 681 innings, fewest in the league, and the Angels were the only team in the American League that didn’t have at least 700 innings.

“We can’t win without pitching,’’ the Angels’ new manager, Joe Maddon, said during the meetings.

The Angels finished seventh in the AL with 769 runs scored.

But even with Rendon’s signing, the Angels and their general manager, Billy Eppler, say they have the money to bring in another pitcher.

They might be able to sign Madison Bumgarner or Hyun-Jin Ryu, both in the top tier of free-agent pitchers,.

The Angels have been in trade talks with Cleveland for two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco. The Angels also have been linked to acquiring Boston’s David Price, who is 34 years old and pitched for Maddon when both were with Tampa Bay.

The Angels last season tried to fix their rotation with Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill, but each was a disaster. Cahill is the only starter who pitched at least 100 innings, and his ERA was 5.98.

Andrew Heaney had a 4.91 ERA in 2019. The Angels’ prospects include Griffin Canning and Jaime Barria.

Another wrinkle: Ohtani pitches and also serves as designated hitter on days he isn’t on the mound. He’s coming back from surgery and will pitch only once a week. So the Angels basically will have a six-man rotation.

So they to make a trade for rotation help, or bank on the pitching prospects to grow up quickly.

Otherwise, enjoy the 13-11 games. There could be plenty of them.