Brewers’ OF Hunter Renfore could be a trade target for the Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris said last week at the GM Meetings that he is looking for a right-handed hitting outfield bat. We talked about free agent Mitch Haniger last week, now we’re going to discuss a potential trade target in Brewers’ OF Hunter Renfroe.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Renfroe could be available this winter as he’s due about $11 million in arbitration and it sounds like Milwaukee is looking to cut costs. If the Brewers do decide to move him, Renfroe would be on his fifth team in as many years.
It makes more sense for the Brewers to move him than it does on the surface. They have a swath of young outfield prospects that will need some playing time, and they are all much cheaper than the 30-year-old Renfroe. Sal Frelick, Joey Wiemer, and Garrett Mitchell will all be vying for playing time in Milwaukee next year.
That being said, he had a good year with the Brew Crew in 2022, slashing .255/.315/.492 with 29 home runs and a 124 wRC+. He also posted a career-high 2.5 fWAR.
Renfroe has always been a power hitter, hitting at least 26 homers in every full season of his career. However, he also has a tendency to swing-and-miss a lot, which is something Scott Harris is trying to mitigate. He had a 31.2% strikeout rate in 2019, but that has come down significantly over the years, down to 23.2% this past year.
His career walk rate is just below league average at 7.9%. This is what makes him an interesting trade candidate for the Tigers. Would Harris be willing to sacrifice some of his “dominate the strike zone” mantra for some power?
Defensively, Renfroe has one of the strongest arms in the league, consistently ranking near the top in terms of average velocity on throws from the outfield. That definitely wouldn’t go to waste at Comerica Park. He has struggled fielding the ball at times, however. He had 12 errors in right field for the Red Sox in 2021, six each for fielding and throwing errors.
Renfroe is a free agent after next season, so he’d only be a one-year rental, which should make him relatively cheap to acquire. I would imagine Harris would have no problem moving some of the these prospects in the Tigers system given he is not attached to any of them.
The Detroit Tigers need a lot more production out of their outfield, especially in the power department. Renfroe would certainly be able to provide that if Harris is willing to put up with some swing-and-miss.