The Rays are working the phones on multiple fronts, with the evident aim of adding pitching as well as a bat. In that latter pursuit, the team has engaged the padres regarding corner outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).
It’s not surprising to see those particular names pop up, if only because of the prior rumored Tampa Bay targets. The club has been tied to numerous powerful right-handed hitters, most of whom would represent full or part-time options in the corner outfield. It seems that’s a particular profile of interest.
What’s particularly interesting about this slugging San Diego duo is that it consists of a pair of young and controllable players. That’d presumably increase the price tag, though perhaps there’s also some logic in the Rays going after pieces with long-term as well as short-term value.
There’s obviously a tough balance to be struck here by the Tampa Bay front office. Even as hopes of a division run have melted away, the club has made clear that it wishes to “do everything we can not to take this season for granted and see if there is a way to help this team in a responsible fashion.”
Renfroe and Reyes each possess an abundance of power. They’ve also both put it into play in game action at the MLB level this year. The former has a .238/.297/.563 slash and 29 dingers, the latter a .253/.312/.535 mark and 27 long balls. Both of those lines translate to a 116 wRC+ and suggest equal parts intrigue and concern as to sustainability.
The sluggers each have a little more swing and miss, and a little less plate discipline, than might be preferred. Barring an adjustment, their fortunes will rise and fall on their ability to square up the baseball consistently. That sort of high-power, low-OBP profile hasn’t been favored in recent years, though perhaps that could create a bit of an opportunity for the Rays.
It remains to be seen how aggressively the Padres will market their corner sluggers. While the club has yet to resolve its general outfield crunch, it’s not as if the organization is desperate to clear a path for a can’t-miss prospect.