Milwaukee Brewers trade Hunter Renfroe to Angels for triple pitcher

Milwaukee Brewers trade Hunter Renfroe to Angels for triple pitcher
Written by nismiste
Milwaukee Brewers trade Hunter Renfroe to Angels for triple pitcher

Outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who reached .255 with 29 home runs and 72 RBI in his only season with the Brewers, was handed out to the Los Angeles Angels for three pitchers on Tuesday night.

Those excited about the Milwaukee Brewers’ outfield prospects will likely agree with the team’s move Tuesday night.

Right fielder Hunter Renfroe, Milwaukee’s best offensive player last season, was traded to the Los Angeles Angels, potentially paving the way for Sal Frelick, Esteury Ruiz and Joey Wiemer to earn major league play time in 2023.

There’s a trio of pitchers returning to the Brewers in the deal: right-handed Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero, and left-handed Adam Seminaris.

“Look, I think it gives a lot of men an opportunity here,” said general manager Matt Arnold. “Whether it’s opening day or not, the number of guys competing here is still to be determined. We have a long way to go between now and then.

“But we’re excited for this group and feel really good about the mix of outfielders we have going into the 2023 season.”

Renfroe, who will turn 31 on January 28, was offered a contract by Brewers last week as he enters his final year of eligibility for arbitration.

Insights show it won a deal worth more than $11 million; Milwaukee probably wasn’t comfortable considering how well Frelick, Ruiz and Wiemer performed in Class AAA Nashville in 2022.

While Ruiz is already in the 40-man squad, Frelick and Wiemer have yet to play their major league debuts. Brewers also has Tyrone Taylor. Another much-launched contender, Garrett Mitchell, debuted at the end of August and will be the team’s first midfielder in 2023.

Asked about the payroll aspect of the trade, Arnold pointed out that it’s more about trying to support a pitching group – particularly the rotation – that last season was so intense and didn’t have much depth.

“Honestly, from our point of view, it’s really more about contributing to our organization and acting from a position of strength,” he said. “Every time we talk, we want to make sure you have depth and we felt we had that depth out there. Then it was good to be able to increase our shooting depth.

“We feel good on both counts.”

Despite a double cap on the injured roster, Renfroe rode with an OPS of .807 over 72 runs, hitting .255 with 29 home runs, providing a consistent bat in a lineup that was at times insanely inconsistent.

Now, a group of youngsters will rely on less proven players to produce Brewers.

“It’s always an exchange,” Arnold said. “Hunter has done a really good job for us this year. At the end of the season, we saw what guys like Garrett Mitchell and Tyrone Taylor did for us this season, and there are a few other guys in the mix that we love. I’m excited about it.

“Hunter will certainly be missed, but these guys and others at the top of our system feel good about growing our outfield in 2023 and beyond.”

The Angels will be Renfroe’s fifth team in five seasons. Jackie Bradley Jr. and came to Brewers last December 1 in exchange for minor leagues Alex Binelas and David Hamilton.

Junk, who turned 27 on January 15, is 1-2 with an average of 4.74 runs and a WHIP of 1.42 in seven games (six starts) for the Angels in 2021 and 2022. He made a total of 21 hits at 24⅔. inning order.

In 2022 Class AAA Salt Lake City in 16 games (15 starts), Junk was 1-7 with a 4.64 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, scoring 69 points in 73⅔ innings.

“Janson Junk is a good young arm,” Arnold said. “He came to Angels from Yankees a few years ago. He has a four-step mix and is a solid young start. We believe he has a chance to potentially compete for a place in our rotation.

“He’s a fast moving guy who shows flashes in his (Angels) system, so we’re excited about what he can bring in 2023 as a contributor to hit beats.”

Peguero, who turned 26 on March 20, finished 0-1 with a 9.16 ERA and 1.93 WHIP in 16 relief matches in 2021 and 2022. He scored 12 points in 19⅔ innings.

He was 4-1 in 38 games with a 2.84 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in Salt Lake City, hitting 50 in 44⅓ innings.

“Elvis Peguero is another high-octane arm that we’re excited about for big things,” Arnold said of the 1.8-metre, 208-pounder who averaged 96.4 mph with his sinker in 13 games with the Angels in 2022. “He did a really good job at Triple-A last year and showed good flashes and crossovers.”

Junk and Peguero’s minor league options remain, giving Brewers additional flexibility in their shooting.

Turning 24 on October 19th, Seminaris won 7-11 in 24 games (21 kickoffs) last season in the Angels system with a WHIP of 1.43 between advanced Class A, Class AA and Class AAA levels. He scored 97 points in 101⅔ innings.

“Adam Seminaris is a young left-handed and another fast-moving man, the fifth round of the 2020 audition,” Arnold said. “He’s already reached Triple-A and has a four to five-act mix, which gives him a variety of weapons to take out guys.

“Among three of these guys, we feel really good about isolating the guns we already have at the major league level.”

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This article was originally published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Hunter Renfroe’s Brewers trade opens the door for the team’s top candidates

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