Renfroe, 31, joined the Reds just over two weeks ago. He began the year with the Angels, who went for it at the deadline but then fell out of contention in August. Since they no longer had the ability to trade anyone, they put six players on waivers in an attempt to save some money and dip under the luxury tax. Renfroe was one of those players, allowing the Reds to grab him for nothing other than taking on the remainder of his salary. They also grabbed Harrison Bader from the Yankees in a similar scenario, allowing them to add two outfielders for the stretch run without giving up any talent in return.
Unfortunately, Renfroe has struggled immensely since coming to Cincinnati, hitting .128/.227/.205. It’s still a surprise to see the club move on so quickly. Those poor results have come in a small sample of just 44 plate appearances, a time in which he has a .154 batting average on balls in play that would be bound for regression. Nonetheless, it seems the club has decided to quickly cut bait.
Earlier today, the Reds placed Bader on the injured list, meaning they are now without either of their waiver pickups from a few weeks ago. The club was willing to add roughly $2.76MM to their payroll in order to get those two outfielders for the final month of the schedule but will now be proceeding without either of them, at least until Bader can get healthy again.
With the trade deadline having passed, the Reds will put Renfroe on waivers in the coming days. Whether or not he will garner any interest will be an interesting situation, as it’s an unusual time of year for such a player to be on the wire. With the season winding down and Renfroe an impending free agent, only a contending club would have any incentive to put in a claim. But even for a contender, Renfroe wouldn’t be postseason eligible since it’s after the September 1 cutoff. He still has about $893K left on his $11.9MM salary, with any claiming club having to take that on just to add Renfroe for the less than two weeks left in the regular season. If he were to clear, he has more than enough service time to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency while retaining what’s left of his salary.
Recent struggles aside, Renfroe’s career offensive production is notable. Dating back to his 2016 debut with the Padres, he has hit 177 home runs and has slashed .239/.300/.478 for a wRC+ of 106. However, his defense is considered subpar, which subtracts some of the value of his bat. Despite that power potential, his glovework and poor plate discipline have capped his value and turned him into a journeyman in recent years. After sticking with the Padres through 2019, he’s since been traded to the Rays, Red Sox, Brewers and Angels, before landing with the Reds via waivers.