This story was excerpted from Rhett Bollinger’s Angels Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.
For Hunter Renfroe, last week’s trade to the Angels wasn’t exactly a surprise.
Renfroe knew the Brewers were likely to move him, because he was due for a raise in arbitration after a productive 2022 season, and he even heard rumblings from his agent that the Angels were in the mix. So when the Angels acquired Renfroe last Tuesday for pitchers Janson Junk, Elvis Peguero and Adam Seminaris, Renfroe wasn’t taken aback.
After all, Renfroe has been through it before. He was traded from the Padres to the Rays in 2019. He was non-tendered by the Rays in 2020 and then signed with the Red Sox, but Boston traded Renfroe to the Brewers last year on Dec. 1. After four seasons with the Padres to start his career, this will be Renfroe’s fifth team in five seasons.
“Obviously, considering the other four times, I kind of know what happens during this time of the year,” Renfroe said. “My man cave and the hitting cage in the shed there is getting filled up with different jerseys. We’ll add another to it. We’ll look forward to it and laugh about it at the end.”
Renfroe, 30, is coming off a solid year with Milwaukee, as he slashed .255/.315/.492 with 29 homers, 23 doubles and 72 RBIs in 125 games. He’s been a consistent power threat over the last six years, as he’s hit at least 26 homers in each season, not counting the shortened 2020 season.
It’ll be a boost for the Angels, who struggled offensively this past season, as they finished 25th in the Majors in runs scored. Renfroe said he was told that he’ll be the starting right fielder, which means Taylor Ward will move to left field. Renfroe has one of the strongest outfield arms in the Majors and has mostly played right field throughout his career. Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell will now be relegated to part-time roles and will have to compete for a spot on the roster in Spring Training.
“They told me I’ll be in right field and playing every day,” Renfroe said. “I’m excited for that opportunity. I love playing baseball and love playing every single day. I look forward to it. I’ll play anywhere they want me.”
Renfroe said he’s excited to play alongside superstar Mike Trout in the outfield and also can’t wait to play with two-way star Shohei Ohtani. He said he tries to pick up on the routines of star players and is looking forward to seeing it up close this season.
“It’s very exciting to be able to witness greatness every day and see those guys play, even on the other side,” Renfroe said. “Just to be on the same field as them and learn from guys like that and see what their daily routines are, it’s pretty special. Obviously, it takes a little pressure off every player to be on the field with those guys and watch them do what they do, and just kind of be a piece to the puzzle and just help them be great.”
On a lighter note, Renfroe also joked about his resemblance to Trout, as it’s something that social media and even Angels broadcaster Matt Vasgersian has picked up on over the years. Renfroe said it goes back to his days with the Padres, as his teammates would joke about it.
“Everybody says that, from when I was with the Padres,” Renfroe said. “It’s all fun.”