The Royals are reportedly finalizing a deal with outfielder Hunter Renfroe, which is pending a physical. The McKinnis Sports client will get $13MM over two years, with $500K in incentives also available each year. He will make $5.5MM in 2024 and $7.5MM in 2025, but can opt out after the first season.
It’s been a busy week for the Royals, who have signed pitchers Seth Lugo and Will Smith, while also reportedly agreeing to a deal with Chris Stratton. They also had known interest in buttressing their outfield, having been connected to Tyler O’Neill in recent rumors. But the Cardinals flipped O’Neill to the Red Sox and it seems the Royals have pivoted to the free agent market.
Renfroe, 32 in January, has been incredibly nomadic in recent seasons, which is likely a reflection of his enticing power but limited overall profile. He began his career with the Padres but has subsequently bounced to the Rays, Red Sox, Brewers, Angels and Reds, meaning he’s worn six jerseys in the past five years, with this deal set to make it seven in six.
Since becoming a full-time player in 2017, he has hit at least 20 home runs in each full season, as well as eight in the shortened 2020 campaign. He’s also reached the 30-homer plateau twice. But he also doesn’t have huge batting average or on-base percentages. His career batting line of .239/.300/.478 amounts to a wRC+ of 106, indicating he’s been a bit above league average on the whole.
But that’s come in fairly inconsistent fashion on a year-to-year basis. In 2019, he hit 33 home runs, but that was the “juiced ball” season. Since he struck out in 31.2% of his plate appearances and had a .289 OBP, he was actually a smidge below league average, 99 wRC+. He was flipped to Tampa and then had significant struggles in 2020, despite the eight homers. The Rays traded him to the Red Sox, which led to a bounceback season and Boston flipping him to the Brewers for prospects, taking on Jackie Bradley Jr. in the process. Renfroe hit 60 homers over those seasons with Boston and Milwaukee, slashing .257/.315/.496 for a wRC+ of 118.
Yet another trade to the Halos preceded yet another downturn. He hit 19 homers but his .242/.304/.434 line had his wRC+ at 99 again. As the club fell out of contention, they put multiple players on waivers to try to dip below the luxury tax. Renfroe was one one them and he was claimed by the Reds. In 14 games with that club, he hit a dismal .128/.227/.205 and was released.
Renfroe isn’t a…