Angels get OF Renfroe from Brewers for 3 young pitchers

Washington Nationals v Milwaukee Brewers
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels acquired power-hitting outfielder Hunter Renfroe in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for three young pitchers.

Milwaukee received right-handers Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero, and minor league lefty Adam Seminaris.

Renfroe batted .255 with 29 home runs, 72 RBIs and an .807 OPS in 125 games this season, his first with the Brewers. He led major league right fielders with 11 assists and ranked 10th in the National League with a .492 slugging percentage.

“Obviously, it’s a productive player who’s done it year in and year out for a while,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said on a Zoom conference with reporters. “It’s a quality two-way guy. Not only can he produce on the offensive side, he’s a quality defender. He can really throw. Just the total package. We felt like he was a really good fit for us.”

Renfroe, who turns 31 in January, is eligible for arbitration again and likely to get a raise after earning a $7.65 million salary this year. He can become a free agent after next season.

He joins an Angels team looking for offense to support superstars Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in a top-heavy lineup that struggled overall this year. Los Angeles went 73-89 and finished third in the AL West.

Milwaukee, with a limited budget, was second in the NL Central at 86-76 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017 after four consecutive appearances.

Renfroe was drafted 13th overall by San Diego in 2013 and spent his first four big league seasons with the Padres. But the Angels will mark his fifth team in five years, including Tampa Bay (2020) and Boston (2021).

Junk, 26, spent most of the season with Triple-A Salt Lake but made three appearances for the Angels, including two starts. He was 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in 8 1/3 innings.

The 25-year-old Peguero made 13 relief appearances for the Angels this season, compiling a 6.75 ERA in 17 1/3 innings. He pitched in 38 games for Salt Lake.

Seminaris, 24, was selected by the Angels in the fifth round of the 2020 draft out of Long Beach State. He made a combined 21 starts and three relief appearances this year with High-A Tri-City, Double-A Rocket City and Triple-A Salt Lake, going 7-11 with a 3.54 ERA. He’s struck out 209 batters in 185 minor league innings.

“We are happy to welcome three quality young arms to our organization, two of which are already on the major league roster and have a chance to impact our team in 2023,” Milwaukee general manager Matt Arnold said. “The ability to add pitching depth to an already strong stable of big league arms is something we feel good about.”

Milwaukee has several outfield prospects who could fill Renfroe’s spot after playing in Triple-A this season.

Garrett Mitchell, a 2020 first-round draft pick, was called up late in the season and had an .832 OPS in 23 games. Sal Frelick, Esteury Ruiz and Joey Wiemer all spent at least part of the season at Triple-A Nashville. Ruiz was acquired from San Diego in the deal for All-Star closer Josh Hader just before the trade deadline.

“We are very thankful to Hunter for all of his contributions, both on and off the field,” Arnold said. “While he will certainly be missed, this is an opportunity for our group of exciting young outfielders to impact our major league team in the near future.”

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.