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  • Brewers Trade Renfroe for (Janson) Junk and More


    Seth Stohs

    The Brewers made a pre-Thanksgiving trade with the Los Angeles Angels. Outfielder Hunter Renfroe was traded to the Angels in exchange for three minor-league pitchers. Find out more. 

    Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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    There always seems to be that one team early in the offseason that appears to be working a little harder than everyone else. This offseason, that team is the LA Angels. After making it known that they will not be trading SP/DH/MVP Candidate Shohei Ohtani, they are making an attempt to contend to try to keep Ohtani around beyond his current contract, which expires at the end of next season. First, they signed lefty Tyler Anderson. Late last week, they acquired infielder Gio Urshela. And on Tuesday night, they added outfielder Hunter Renfroe to their outfield. 

    The 30-year-old Renfroe came to the Brewers from the Red Sox last offseason in exchange for Jackie Bradley, Jr. He had a really solid year in Milwaukee hitting .255/.315/.492 (.807) with 23 doubles, 29 homers, and 72 RBI. He hit particularly well late in the season. Solid numbers indeed, but MLB Trade Rumors projected him to make about $11.2 million in his final year of arbitration, there may be better ways to spend the money. The Brewers tendered him a 2023 contract last week, but they were set on trading him. They just didn't want to rush and give him away. 

    So what did they get in return? Looking at the numbers of the three pitchers they received for Renfroe, it's easy to initially be somewhat disappointed. However, teams knew the Brewers wanted to deal Renfroe, and his 2023 contract won't be exactly team-friendly. In that scenario, the quantity of the return becomes important. They received two pitchers who have already reached the big leagues, in limited action and success, but nevertheless, they could contribute. Two of the three are potential starters while the third is a hard-throwing reliever. The third player pitched at three levels in 2022 including Triple-A and has some potential too. 

     

    RHP Janson Junk will be 27 years old in 2023.  He debuted with the Angels in 2021 and made four starts. In 2022, he made two starts and one relief appearance in the big leagues. At Triple-A Salt Lake in 2022, he went 1-7 with a 4.64 ERA in 16 games (15 starts). In 73 2/3 innings, he walked just 18 and struck out 69 batters.  He was the 22nd-round pick of the Yankees in 2017 out of Seattle University. He was traded at the 2021 deadline in the deal that sent Andrew Heaney to the Yankees. Junk has a fastball that sits 92-94 mph and can work well up in the zone. He also has a slider that can be devastating at times. He hasn't been able to maintain consistency in his limited big-league time. In their midseason rankings, MLB Pipeline ranked Junk as the Angels' 16th-best prospect while Baseball America ranked him at #14. 

    The second minor-league pitcher in that Angels-Yankees trade was Elvis Peguero. The 25-year-old debuted with the Angels in 2021 and gave up seven runs over three outings (and 2 1/3 innings). In 2022, he pitched 17 1/3 innings over 13 appearances for the Angels. He posted a 6.75 ERA with a 1.62 WHIP. He gave up 23 hits (4 homers), walked five and struck out 12. Peguero is a big, strong right-hander. He has a sinking fastball that sits 94-97 and touches 98. He's got a slider that can be very good at times and sits around 90. He's also got a cutter. Again, consistency is why he hasn't been able to stick, but his stuff is certainly intriguing. 

    The third piece of the trade puzzle coming to the Brewers is 24-year-old left-hander Adam Seminaris. He was the Angels fifth-round pick in 2020 from Long Beach State. He pitched at three levels in 2022. He went 2-2 with a 0.98 ERA in seven games at High-A Tri-City. He moved up to Double-A Rocket City (the Trash Pandas!) and went 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP over eight games (and 30 2/3 innings). He ended the season by going 2-5 with a 5.24 ERA over nine Triple-A starts in Salt Lake. Combined, he threw 101 2/3 innings and struck out 97 batters while walking 38 batters. 

    Seminaris doesn't throw real hard. He sits right around or just over 90 mph with his fastball. He's got a really good slow curveball that can be tough on lefties. He has been known to throw a lot of strikes. 

    The Brewers have a lot of very interesting decisions to make this offseason. Some of them, such as potentially extending Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, maybe Willy Adames, could get quite spendy. So moves like this aren't fun, but are probably necessary. 

    So, no, the return isn't terribly exciting, but after looking up the return, I think there is something to work with. Hopefully, the Brewers player development staff and big league pitching coaches can develop them a bit and if one of them becomes a successful contributor, that's a good deal. But all three at least have the potential to help the Brewers, maybe even in 2023. What are your thoughts? 

     

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    Off the top of my head it reminds me a little of the return they got from ATL for Arcia. But I'll defer to those who are a lot more knowledgeable of other teams' farm systems than I. It opens up a portal for Joey Wiemer to climb through if he's ready to do so.

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    Somewhat disappointed, are you kidding me.  you put this trade after the Hader trade and it appears you receive junk in return in both deals.  Is Brian Gutenkunst the new Brewer's GM ?

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    3 hours ago, Lou Buell said:

    Somewhat disappointed, are you kidding me.  you put this trade after the Hader trade and it appears you receive junk in return in both deals.  Is Brian Gutenkunst the new Brewer's GM ?

    What makes you think the players received for Hader are junk? Both are good prospects.

    This trade, maybe not so much. Let's hope the Brewers are seeing something the Angels do not, which is entirely possible given that they're the Angels.

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    23 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    What makes you think the players received for Hader are junk? Both are good prospects.

    This trade, maybe not so much. Let's hope the Brewers are seeing something the Angels do not, which is entirely possible given that they're the Angels.

    Brock, that was a play on the last name of one of the 3 pitching prospects, Janson Junk.  Also, one of the players that was included in the Hader trade Dinelson Lament was waived right after the trade (junk).  Everyone knows the Brewer's biggest need is for clutch hitting and Renfroe could carry a team for a week and was a team player (clutch hits to right field which is rare for a right handed power hitter) and a team high batting average for the regulars.  I also loved his all out style which fit the Brewer's small market and hard working city theme.  Below is what top MLB scribe Ken Rosenthal said about the trade;

    None of the pitchers the Angels traded for Urshela and Renfroe figure to be worth much of anything in the future. Anyone looking objectively at those deals would say they were salary dumps by the Twins and Brewers.

    Ken noted Junk and Peguero were throw-ins by the Yankees for two horrible months of Andrew Heaney. And more importantly, if the Angels fall out of it again before the trade deadline, the Angels will get back more than they gave up for Urshela and Renfroe.

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    26 minutes ago, Lajitas said:

    I'm surprised they got this much for Renfroe.

    He’s a 2-ish win player for $11m. That’s hardly a steal but it’s useful production at a reasonable price. 

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    2 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    He’s a 2-ish win player for $11m. That’s hardly a steal but it’s useful production at a reasonable price. 

    What does that say about the Brewer's talent level when he was their best offensive player, that is embarrassing".

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    1 hour ago, Lou Buell said:

    What does that say about the Brewer's talent level when he was their best offensive player, that is embarrassing".

    Not really, WAR is adjusted for position and includes defense. Renfroe was fourth on the team in offensive WAR by B-Ref. He was behind Adames, Urias, Yelich, and Wong. 

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    19 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    Not really, WAR is adjusted for position and includes defense. Renfroe was fourth on the team in offensive WAR by B-Ref. He was behind Adames, Urias, Yelich, and Wong. 

    Finishing fourth with four players ahead of you.  That's quite an accomplishment.

    • WHOA SOLVDD 1
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    21 hours ago, Lou Buell said:

    What does that say about the Brewer's talent level when he was their best offensive player, that is embarrassing".

    The Brewers offense scored 725 runs this season. SDP (705), CLE (698), SEA (690) and TBR (666) all made the playoffs scoring fewer runs.

    Brewers batters posted a 103 wRC+ this season. SDP (102), TBR (101) and CLE (99) all made the playoffs with a lower wRC+.

    Brewers position players tallied 24.3 WAR this season. SEA (23.0), CLE (21.8), PHI (21.7), SDP (21.3) and TBR (19.9) all made the playoffs with lower position player WAR.

    Brewers pitchers allowed 688 runs this season. All twelve of the playoff teams allowed fewer runs.

    Brewers pitchers posted a 3.92 FIP this season. Only STL (3.94) had a higher FIP among playoff teams.

    Brewers pitchers tallied 15.6 rWAR this season. Only TOR (14.4) had less rWAR among playoff teams.

    I didn’t find either the offense or pitching embarrassing personally, but the pitching was statistically closer to being shameful.

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    I don't think, by the numbers, our offense was horrible. But when it counted, down the stretch, it disappeared. That is what everyone remembers.

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