Angels Acquire Hunter Renfroe From Brewers

The Angels’ early-offseason aggressiveness continues. The Halos introduced the acquisition of the outfielder Hunter Renfroe from the Brewers on Tuesday evening. Pitchers Johnson Junk, Elvis Peguero and Adam Seminaris head to Milwaukee in return.

It’s the third early strike of the offseason for the Halos, who’ve already signed a starter Tyler Anderson to a three-year free agent deal and purchased infielder Gio Urshela in a commerce with the Twins. Now, they take a step in direction of fixing an outfield that had a significant query mark alongside Mike Trout and Taylor Ward.

Renfroe ought to solidify the nook outfield spot reverse Ward. He’s been an above-average hitter in every of the previous two seasons, with strikingly comparable manufacturing for the Red Sox in 2021 and Brewers this 12 months. The former first-rounder has mixed for 60 residence runs over the past two seasons, following up a 31-homer displaying with the Sox with 29 extra in Milwaukee. He had an an identical .315 on-base proportion in annually however greater than offset that modest quantity with large energy manufacturing.

The right-handed hitter has hit between .255 and .260 in every of the final two years whereas slugging round .500 each seasons. He has a cumulative .257/.315/.496 line in slightly below 1100 plate appearances going again to the beginning of 2021. His 22.9% strikeout price is correct round common, whereas he is walked at a barely below-average 7.6% clip. He’s a lower-OBP slugger who has notably decimated left-handed opposition. Renfroe carries a .269/.357/.508 line over that stretch whereas holding the platoon benefit. He’s had stronger on-base considerations however hit for sufficient energy to stay an honest choice in opposition to right-handed pitching (.252/.292/.491).

That energy manufacturing is Renfroe’s calling card, however he is additionally a viable defender. Defensive Runs Saved has pegged him proper round league common in proper area in every of the final three seasons. Statcast’s range-based metric has Renfroe a number of runs beneath common yearly, however he compensates for his fringy athleticism with top-tier arm power. He’s picked up double-digit assists in every of the final two years, and he leads all MLB outfielders with 27 baserunners reduce down in that point.

Renfroe’s wonderful arm power has saved him primarily in proper area over the previous few years, though he did log quite a few innings in left earlier in his profession. If he steps into proper area at Angel Stadium, that’d push Ward over to left area. Former prime prospect Joe Adell now seems to be as if he’ll be relegated to fourth outfield/bench responsibility after beginning his profession with a .215/.259/.356 displaying in roughly one full season’s price of video games. Adell remains to be simply 23 years outdated and coming off a strong 12 months in Triple-A Salt Lake, however the Angels do not seem ready to depend on him for a daily function as they give the impression of being to vault their manner into the playoff image in 2023.

As with final week’s Urshela commerce, the Renfroe acquisition is about deepening the lineup with a productive however not elite veteran for a season. Renfroe turns 31 in January and is in his ultimate season of membership management. He’s projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz for an $11.2MM wage, and he’ll be a free agent on the finish of the 12 months. That’s an inexpensive sum for a participant of this caliber, however one reasonably costly season of arbitration management over a lower-OBP nook slugger is not teeming with commerce worth. Renfroe is the second participant of that first deal in as many weeks.

The Blue Jays despatched Teoscar Hernández to the Mariners for relievers Eric Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko. That commerce got here as a shock to quite a few Toronto followers, however every of Swanson and Macko are arguably extra interesting gamers than any of the trio of pitchers Milwaukee acquired on this swap. Hernández is a greater hitter than Renfroe is, however the hole between the previous’s .282/.332/.508 line over the previous two seasons and the latter’s manufacturing is not all that dramatic. Nevertheless, Renfroe has had a tough time sticking in anybody spot as his price ticket has escalated all through his arbitration seasons. The Halos will likely be his fifth workforce in as a few years, as he successively performed for the Padres, Rays, Red Sox and Brewers going again to 2019.

Adding his projected arbitration wage pushes the Halos’ estimated 2023 payroll as much as round $192MM, per Roster Resource. That’d be the best mark in franchise historical past, narrowly topping their approximate $189MM determine from this previous season. They’re as much as roughly $206MM in luxurious tax commitments, round $27MM shy ​​of the $233MM base threshold. The franchise’s spending capability this winter has been in query with proprietor Arte Moreno exploring a sale of the franchise. There’s nonetheless no indication the membership is keen to method luxurious tax territory, however the acquisitions of Anderson, Urshela and Renfroe have tacked on an estimated $31.9MM in 2023 spending. The latter two gamers signify one-year investments, however it appears Moreno is affording normal supervisor Perry Minasian and his group some leeway so as to add to the roster upfront of the membership’s ultimate season of management over defending AL MVP runner-up Shohei Ohtani.

The Brewers add a trio of pitchers, two of whom have already got large league expertise. Junk is a former Twenty second-round choose of the Yankees. He went to the Halos within the 2021 deadline deal that despatched the southpaw Andrew Heaney to the Bronx. The right-hander has pitched in seven MLB video games over the previous two seasons, beginning six. He’s allowed a 4.74 ERA by way of 24 2/3 innings, hanging out a below-average 19.4% of opponents however posting a sterling 4.4% stroll price.

Junk, 27 in January, leans totally on a low-80s slider which prospect evaluators counsel could possibly be an above-average pitch. He has first rate spin on his 92-93 MPH four-seam however hasn’t cemented himself on an enormous league employees up to now. He spent most of this 12 months on non-compulsory project to Salt Lake, the place he posted a 4.64 ERA by way of 73 2/3 innings as a starter in a hitter-friendly surroundings. His 22.1% strikeout proportion was a contact beneath common, however he solely walked 5.8% of opponents. The Seattle University product nonetheless has a pair of minor league choice years remaining and might bounce between Milwaukee and Triple-A Nashville as rotation or center aid depth.

Peguero, then again, is a pure reliever. The righty debuted with three appearances as a COVID alternative late within the 2021 season. He earned a everlasting 40-man roster spot final offseason and appeared in 13 video games this 12 months. Tasked with low-leverage innings, Peguero put up a 7.27 ERA throughout 17 1/3 innings. He solely struck out 15.6% of opponents however acquired swinging strikes on a extra spectacular 12% of his whole pitches. The Dominican Republic native induced grounders on roughly half the batted balls he surrendered within the majors.

He additionally had a superb 12 months in Salt Lake, the place he tossed 44 1/3 frames of two.84 ERA ball. Peguero fanned 27.5% of batters confronted in opposition to a high quality 7.1% stroll price and racked up grounders at an enormous 57.5% clip. Like Junk, Peguero leaned totally on a slider throughout his MLB look, though he throws a lot more durable. Peguero’s slider checked in at 91 MPH on common whereas his fastball sat simply north of 96. He turns 26 in March and in addition has two choices remaining, so the Brewers can deploy him as an up-and-down center reliever whereas hoping he can translate his Triple-Successful in opposition to large league opponents.

Seminaris went within the fifth spherical within the 2020 draft out of Long Beach State. A 6’0″ southpaw, he wasn’t ranked among the many prime 30 prospects within the Anaheim system at Baseball America. He traversed three minor league ranges this 12 months, displaying nicely at High-A in opposition to youthful competitors however struggling as he climbed the minor league ladder. Altogether, he labored 101 2/3 frames of three.54 ERA ball with a 22.1% strikeout price and an 8.7% stroll proportion. He’s not on the 40-man roster however should be added by the top of the 2023 season or be uncovered within the Rule 5 draft.

While Milwaukee clearly likes all three mid-20’s hurlers, they’re every versatile depth choices. Surely, a key motivator within the deal was reallocating Renfroe’s hefty arbitration projection. Slashing payroll wasn’t the only real impetus for the commerce — the Brewers may’ve merely non-tendered Renfroe final week in the event that they had been dedicated to getting his cash off the books — however GM Matt Arnold and his employees elected to clear some payroll room whereas bringing in a number of depth arms of observe.

The Brewers are projected for a wage round $115MM at Roster Resource thanks largely to an arbitration class that also contains Corbin Burns, Brandon Woodruff and Willy Adams, amongst others. That’s about $17MM shy ​​of this 12 months’s Opening Day mark, and extra roster shuffling figures to be on the horizon. Dealing a complementary participant like Renfroe doesn’t mean the Brewers are about to flip any of Burnes, Woodruff or Adames, however Milwaukee may contemplate shifting the second baseman Kolten Wong or a depth starter like Adrian Houser or Eric Lauer. They’ve already drawn some curiosity from the Mariners on Wong and are certain to ponder quite a few methods to attempt to steadiness the current and the longer term.

Milwaukee may now dip into the decrease tiers of the free agent nook outfield market to backfill for Renfroe’s absence, with Tyrone Taylor standing as the present favourite for enjoying time alongside Christian Yelich and Garrett Mitchell within the outfield. Highly-touted younger gamers like Sal Frelick and Joey Wiemer may play their manner into the combo midseason, however it’d be a shock if the Brewers did not add no less than one veteran outfielder earlier than Opening Day.

Images courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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