The Los Angeles Angels made their third major move of the offseason on Tuesday night when they traded for corner outfielder Hunter Renfroe. A career .790 OPS hitter, Renfroe figures to slot in as the team’s starting left fielder next to Mike Trout and Taylor Ward.
Angels general manager Perry Minasian has been perhaps the most active executive in all of baseball through the first month of the offseason. First, he signed starting pitcher Tyler Anderson to a three-year contract, then traded for infielder Gio Urshela.
Now, Minasian projects to give Renfroe approximately $11 million for his final year of arbitration. The move pushed the Angels’ projected payroll to about $192 million, which would be a franchise record, previously held by the 2022 roster.
But for the Angels front office, the move is entirely worthwhile, as Renfroe brings a number of skillsets that were missing from the Angels lineup last season, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It’s a productive player who has done it year in and year out for a while,” said Minasian, the Angels’ general manager. “It’s a quality two-way guy. Not only can he produce on the offensive side, he’s a quality defender. He can really throw. Just the total package. We felt like he was a really good fit for us.”
Minasian’s evaluation of Renfroe is certainly an optimistic one, but not without reason. Renfroe has had an .800 or better OPS in each of his last two seasons, and has hit at least 25 home runs in all of his full seasons.
He had a 124 wRC+ in 2022, and is in the 70th percentile or better in hard hit percentage, max and average exit velocity, xSLG, and barrel percentage. At the plate, he is a bona fide power hitter that should add some much-needed pop to the Angels lineup.
His defense, however, does leave something to be desired. Outside of an aberration elite season in 2019, Renfroe has had a negative outs above average in every year of his career and has hovered around zero in defensive runs saved. But if he can bring even half of his 2019 form to the table, it would be a huge boost for the Angels.
Despite that, this is still a net positive move for an Angels team that has been in desperate need of competent depth in their lineup. So far, it appears they have it, meaning they’ll be better able to weather the storm if injuries become an issue once again.
Angels boast need for depth with Urshela trade
Renfroe was not the only trade they made to bolster depth. Despite already having a third baseman in Anthony Rendon, the Angels traded for Urshela, who is almost exclusively a third baseman. However, with Rendon, Jared Walsh, and David Fletcher coming off of injury-laden seasons, having infield depth is massive.