When the Nationals saw two of their best players hit free agency this offseason, the chances of them retaining both appeared bleak. Yet even after Stephen Strasburg re-signed on a seven-year, $245 million deal, the right-hander was still talking to Anthony Rendon in an effort to convince him to return.

“I was in contact with Tony and I have so much respect for that guy and for that family and everything he represents,” Strasburg said in a press conference at Nationals Park on Tuesday. “I just wanted him to be in a situation that was best for him and his family.”

Rendon decided instead to go west, where the Los Angeles Angels inked him to the same contract Strasburg signed—although with no deferrals. The third baseman acknowledged at his introductory press conference in Anaheim that he and Strasburg had spoken several times.

But even though Rendon swapped his curly W for an A with a halo, Strasburg didn’t blame his former teammate for making the decision to sign elsewhere.

“I’m happy for him,” Strasburg said. “Some guys might think that there’s a better solution out there and that’s respectable. He’s earned that right. So for me, I knew where I wanted to be and I trust that moving forward, the team is committed to winning.”