Brewers-Angels swap sends Hunter Renfroe to fifth team in five years

Another season, another new team for outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Angels acquired Renfroe from the Milwaukee Brewers in a trade that sends pitchers Janson Junk, Elvis Peguero, and Adam Seminaris from L.A. to Milwaukee. Junk and Peguero, both right-handers, were acquired by the Angels in a trade with the New York Yankees in exchange for Andrew Heaney. Now the duo, along with the left-handed Seminaris, a fifth-round pick of the Angels in 2020, will be part of the Brewers farm system and could compete for time on the MLB mound in 2023.

What the Brewers-Angels trade for Hunter Renfroe means

The trade is the third since the 2019 season involving Renfroe, including an offseason deal last December that sent him from Boston to Milwaukee, with Jackie Bradley Jr. heading to the Red Sox as part of the trade. The deal worked out well for the Brewers as Renfroe as his 2.7 bWAR ranked seventh for Milwaukee last season.

Over the past four seasons, Renfroe has played for San Diego (2019), Tampa Bay (2020), Boston (2021), and Milwaukee (2022).

Renfroe is in his final year of arbitration in 2022, and the 30-year-old outfielder can be a free agent in 2023. However, for now, the Angels believe they may have found the answer to their issues with a third outfielder to supplement the offensive production provided by Mike Trout and Taylor Ward.

If the Angels choose to use Renfroe in right field, where he played in 118 games last season in Milwaukee, Ward would be moved to left.

Outside of the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, Renfroe has averaged 31 homers in each of his campaigns since the 2019 season began. His power certainly adds another offensive weapon to the Angels lineup, one that Los Angeles has been retooling this offseason with a trade for Gio Urshela.

Are the Angels looking to not only add pieces to improve the team overall, but also to show Shohei Ohtani they are serious about winning before his contract expires at the end of the season?

For Milwaukee, the move is all about pitching depth. Junk and Peguero have 23 MLB game appearances between them totaling 44.1 innings. The 26-year-old Junk’s career ERA stands at 4.74 (1.419 WHIP) while the 25-year-old Peguero has a career 9.15 ERA (1.932 WHIP).

On the surface, Renfroe can provide immediate dividends for the Angels while the Brewers will hope that one of the three pitchers can make an impact on the mound this season or in the near future.