2019 MLB Free Agents: Rumors, Predictions for Anthony Rendon, Madison Bumgarner

Martin FennContributor IIDecember 11, 2019

Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon prepares to take batting practice before Game 7 of the baseball World Series against the Houston Astros Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The MLB free-agent market is already moving at a far more rapid pace than it did last year, when stars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remained unsigned well into February.

Two of the top pitchers, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler, signed in the last week.

The biggest fish of them all, Gerrit Cole, signed a record-breaking deal with the New York Yankees late on Tuesday night, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network

Yet, there is still so much more to discuss.

Here are a few rumors about third baseman Anthony Rendon, the top position player whose own market has heated up considerably in just the last couple of days, as well as Madison Bumgarner, who might now be the best starting pitcher on the market. 


Angels Checking on Anthony Rendon

The Los Angeles Angels are still interested in other superstars despite missing out on Cole.

Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reported the Halos "checked in" on Rendon's market, and they may be inclined to go hard after him given that they might desire an upgrade at the hot corner.

Though Los Angeles could still certainly use more pitching to bolster a rotation that finished dead-last in WAR, according to Fan Graphs, Rendon would be a sizable improvement over David Fletcher, who can hit for average (.290/.350/.384) but lacks Rendon's ability to slug to all fields.

There is also the possibility that the Angels might shift Fletcher over to second or use him as a trade piece (Fletcher is only 25 years old) in the event that they sign Rendon.

Los Angeles ranked seventh in runs, ninth in OPS and 10th in homers last season, so adding Rendon's bat to the lineup would provide instant offense while giving Mike Trout some protection.

Boras represents Rendon, and he told reporters that Rendon has fielded seven-year offers from all suitors despite the Houston native's rumored desire to retire by the age of 35.

In other words, teams are still going to have to pony up plenty of guaranteed money if they hope to ink Rendon to a contract. The Angels might be in the best position to go for broke.

Prediction: Rendon signs with the Angels for seven years, $250 million


Twins 'Heavy' on Madison Bumgarner

With Cole, Strasburg and Wheeler all signed, Madison Bumgarner could very well be the best starting pitcher available. The longtime San Francisco Giants left-hander is reportedly seeking a five-year contract worth close to $100 million.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Minnesota Twins are "heavy" on Bumgarner, which makes sense given the needs in the rotation.

Twins righty Jake Odorizzi accepted his qualifying offer and the Twins re-signed Michael Pineda, but they have a couple of empty spots in the rotation, especially after Kyle Gibson signed with the Texas Rangers.

Is Madison Bumgarner now the best pitcher available?
Is Madison Bumgarner now the best pitcher available?Ben Margot/Associated Press

Injuries and a slight drop in production have somewhat soiled Bumgarner's reputation since 2016, but he is still coming off a season where he tossed more than 200 innings in 34 starts while posting a 3.90 ERA and his highest strikeout per nine innings ratio (8.8) since 2016.

"MadBum" would also have the benefit of pitching in Target Field (one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in baseball) if he signed with the Twins, which could mitigate some of the concerns of him moving away from Oracle Park.

The Twins are not alone in their pursuit, however. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported the Los Angeles Dodgers have shifted their focus to Bumgarner after missing on Cole, and Heyman listed his other potential suitors earlier on Tuesday, including the Atlanta Braves.

Prediction: Bumgarner signs with the Braves for five years, $100 million


Angels Owner Arte Moreno Ready to Spend

Ardaya reported that Angels owner Arte Moreno might be primed to spend big in the wake of Los Angeles also checking in on both Rendon and Josh Donaldson.

Perhaps this would go without saying given that the Halos are rumored to be one of the front-runners for Gerrit Cole, but it bears noticing all the same, especially in light of their other move on Tuesday.

General Billy Eppler got aggressive in dumping salary, sending 2019 draft pick and No. 4 prospect Will Wilson and infielder Zack Cozart to the San Francisco Giants. The move freed up $12.67 million in space, which might be indicative of Los Angeles' desire to go big.

The Angels have not made the playoffs since 2014. They signed Trout to a record contract last season, and brought in Joe Maddon to be their new manager in an apparent effort to swing back towards contention. This might be the winter that they spend big in an effort to win in 2020.


All stats obtained via Baseball Reference and all contract information via Spotrac unless otherwise noted.