Hunter Renfroe knew his time in Milwaukee was coming to an end.
The outfielder, who played for the Brewers in 2022, was told Friday by his agent that he was possibly getting moved.
“And I kind of figured it was gonna come no matter what because the payroll for the Brewers was getting up there pretty good,” Renfroe said during his introductory news conference with the Angels on Wednesday afternoon.
His friend, Angels pitcher Aaron Loup, happened to be visiting his offseason home in Mississippi, close to the border of Louisiana — Loup’s home state — one day and mentioned that general manager Perry Minasian was trying to work out a deal with the Brewers for him.
And on Tuesday night, the Angels announced they officially traded for Renfroe in exchange for young pitchers Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero and minor league pitcher Adam Seminaris.
“We’re excited,” Renfroe said. “I was in Southern California for a long time with the [San Diego] Padres and to come back there, it’s pretty cool.”
Renfroe said he was told that he would be the starting right fielder for the Angels next season and will be playing every day. Renfroe also said that he conveyed to Minasian he’s also willing to play whatever position they need him to.
“I’ll play first base, I’ll play second base if I need to. I hope I don’t have to play second base because that’s entirely too close to the hitter,” Renfroe said. “I’ll play left. I’ll play right. Think [Mike] Trout’s got center field locked down pretty good.”
By going to Anaheim, Renfroe will play for his fifth team in as many years. The longest stint of his career was spent with San Diego, which drafted him in 2013 and where he spent four big league seasons. But between 2019 and 2023, he’ll have played for the Padres, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox, the Brewers and now the Angels.
And along the way, he’s been part of clubs that have made significant playoff runs. He was on the Rays in 2020 when they lost to the Dodgers in the World Series and on the Red Sox in 2021 when they lost to Astros in the American League Championship Series.
“It’s been rough on the family, been rough on everybody,” he said of the constant moving. “But it’s pretty cool. My man cave and my hidden cage and stuff out in the shed there is getting pretty filled up with different jerseys and different pictures and banners and everything else. So I guess we’ll add another one to it and we’ll look forward to it and laugh about it at the end.”
Renfroe joins a team that over the last two weeks has made significant upgrades to address the severe lack of major-league-level depth, which became apparent during the 2022 season. Along with Renfroe, Minasian also traded for Minnesota Twins infielder Gio Urshela and signed former Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Anderson to a multiyear deal.
“Obviously he’s a productive player who’s done it year in and year out for a while,” Minasian said of Renfroe over a Zoom news conference Tuesday night. “It’s a quality two-way guy. Not only can he produce on the offensive side, he’s a quality defender. Just the total package. We felt like he was a really good fit for us.”
Urshela and Renfroe are eligible to become free agents after the 2023 season. The three new additions add a combined $27.2 million to an opening day payroll projected at more than $184.6 million for 2023, per COT’s Baseball Contracts payroll and tax tracker.
As for whether getting to play alongside the likes of Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon add to the excitement of joining a new team, Renfroe said: “It’s very exciting to be able to witness greatness every day and seeing those guys play, even on the other side, it’s fun to watch. So to be on the same field as them and learn from guys like that and what their daily routines are, it’s pretty special.”