In the first big move of the off-season the Red Sox inked a one-year deal with righty outfielder Hunter Renfroe on Monday. The deal is reportedly for $3.1 million with an additional $600,000 in incentives based on his number of plate appearances.
Renfroe has long been on Boston’s radar with the team initially selecting him in the 31st round of the 2010 amateur draft. Renfroe passed on that offer and ultimately was a 1st round choice of the Padres three years later (13th pick overall). He made his Major League debut with San Diego in 2016 and appeared in 390 games there before a December 2019 trade that sent him the Rays.
With the Padres Renfroe hit 25+ home runs in three straight seasons. He set career highs in home runs (33), runs scored (64), extra-base hits (53), walks (46), and games played (140) in 2019 and ended that season a finalist for the National League Gold Glove with 13 assists that tied Bryce Harper for the league lead.
Renfroe’s signing doesn’t necessarily close the door on a reunion with elite free-agent defender Jackie Bradley, Jr., though it likely complicates matter. Both the Cubs and Phillies have emerged as interested parties for Bradley’s services just this week.
Looking to get back on track
Though Renfroe’s offensive numbers dipped over the oddball 2020 season (his .273 wOBA was a career low), he improved his chase rate to a career-best 27.1% with a career-best 10.1% walk rate (good for the 63rd percentile of all MLB players). According to Statcast, Renfroe’s outfielder jump rate last season was ranked in the 75th percentile overall.
In 2020 postseason play Renfroe went 4-for-23 (.174) with two home runs and a double for the American League champion Rays.
In limited action at Fenway Park Renfroe was 4-for-11 (.364) with two doubles and two home runs in three career games last season.
Excited for the next chapter
Renfroe says he is excited to finally play for the Red Sox. “They were the first ones to take a shot at me in high school in 2010,” Renfroe recalled on Monday. “The history that people have at [Fenway] is incredible…I really look forward to being out there.”
The 28-year-old Mississippi native is friendly with, but unrelated to the Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver of the same name.