Trade interest in outfielder Hunter Renfroe has picked up, according to a tweet from Jon Morosi of MLB.com. The report comes less than 24 hours after the Padres’ signing of Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144MM contract.
The signing of Hosmer would seem to displace incumbent first baseman Wil Myers, pushing him back to the outfield where he began his career. That would correspondingly create a logjam in the outfield for the Padres, as Renfroe, Jose Pirela and Manuel Margot had previously seemed tabbed for the three spots there. The team also has Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski, Cory Spangenberg and Matt Szczur, all of whom are candidates to compete for at least some at-bats. With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that teams would be calling about the 26-year-old Renfroe. Whether or not the Padres are seriously considering trading him remains to be seen, of course.
Renfroe boasts less than a full season’s worth of MLB at-bats for his career, and has struck out in over 28% of them. His power upside is tremendous, however, and that potential has translated to 30 career long balls thus far. It’s worth noting that after being recalled from the minors on September 18th of last season, Renfroe smashed six homers in his final 11 games of the season. If the former top prospect can work to reduce his sky-high 33.7% career chase rate and improve his contact overall, he’d be a truly valuable hitter for any major league ballclub.
Which teams are interested in acquiring the righty-hitting Renfroe and what they’d be willing to give up is unclear at this time. Morosi notes that the Braves are currently looking to add an outfielder, and Renfroe is a long-term piece (he’s under team control through at least 2023) that could certainly help the Braves during their next window of contention if he pans out. The Indians are in need of a right-handed hitting outfielder as well, though that fit is merely speculative. It’s also easy to wonder at this point whether teams who’ve shown interest in Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana (the Diamondbacks come to mind) might also have interest in Renfroe.
Renfroe was taken 13th overall by the Padres out of Mississippi State University during the 2013 draft, and rose quickly through the minors at first, reaching the Double-A level by the midway point of the following season. Prior to 2016, MLB Pipeline described him has having “plus-plus raw power to his pull side.” The publication also noted one of his biggest drawbacks: an aggressive, lengthy swing that makes him vulnerable to “quality secondary pitches” on the outer part of the plate. He’s long been lauded for his physical strength, as well as the quality of his contact when he’s able to put the bat on the ball.