The Angeles announced this afternoon that Anthony Rendon will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a right hip impingement. He is being placed on the 60-day injured list. Left-hander Packy Naughton has been selected to the big league roster in a corresponding move, with Chris Rodriguez optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake to clear space on the active roster. The club expects Rendon to be ready for Opening Day 2022, reports Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
Surgery is the culmination of what turned out to be a very trying season for the All-Star third baseman. Rendon landed on the injured list on three separate occasions, missing time due to groin, knee and hamstring problems. All of those injuries were related to Rendon’s left leg, though, with the right hip impingement a new issue that arose during his rehab from the hamstring injury, relays Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
The series of health woes limited Rendon to a total of 249 plate appearances. His typically stellar production was merely average over that time, as the 31-year-old hit .240/.329/.382 with six home runs. This was arguably the least productive season of Rendon’s career, a far cry from the elite .310/.397/.557 line he posted between 2018-20.
Long-term absences to Rendon and Mike Trout have contributed to another mediocre season for the Angels in spite of an MVP-caliber year from Shohei Ohtani. The 53-54 Halos sit 6.5 games back of the Athletics for the final playoff spot in the American League, with the Yankees, Mariners, Blue Jays and Indians all also ahead in the standings. Their playoff chances are down to a meager 1.1%, in FanGraphs’ estimation, and losing Rendon will only make a miracle second half run all the more improbable. In all likelihood, Anaheim is destined for a seventh consecutive year without postseason play.
A return to health and prior form at the plate from Rendon will be critical to the Angels’ hopes of competing in 2022. With Trout, Ohtani, Rendon and Jared Walsh in the fold, the club is no doubt hoping to take another crack at competing next season. Rendon signed a seven-year, $245MM free agent contract over the 2019-20 offseason, so he’ll remain in the fold for quite some time. Under the terms of his backloaded deal, Rendon will earn $36MM next season, followed by successive $38MM salaries from 2023-26.
While Naughton surely wouldn’t have liked for his promotion to come under these circumstances, he is in line to make his big league debut. The 25-year-old began his career as an ninth-round draftee of the Reds out of Virginia Tech in 2017. He was flipped to the Angels last summer as part of the return for outfielder Brian Goodwin. Naughton has spent the 2021 campaign with Salt Lake, working to a 5.23 ERA across 51 2/3 innings in an extremely hitter-friendly league. While he has struck out a below-average 21.5% of opponents, the southpaw has only walked a tiny 5.7% of batters faced, a common theme throughout his minor league career.