Rightfielder Hunter Renfroe – Milwaukee’s best offensive player this past season – was traded to the Los Angeles Angels, potentially opening an avenue for the trio of Sal Frelick, Esteury Ruiz and Joey Wiemer to earn playing time at the major-league level in 2023.
“Look, I think what it does is it gives a lot of guys opportunities here,” general manager Matt Arnold said. “The number of guys that are in the mix here to compete – whether that’s on opening day – is still to be determined. We have a long way to go between now and then.
Projections have him earning a deal worth more than $11 million, a number Milwaukee likely wasn’t comfortable with considering how well Frelick, Ruiz and Wiemer performed at Class AAA Nashville in 2022.
Ruiz is already on the 40-man roster while Frelick and Wiemer have yet to make their major-league debuts. The Brewers also have holdover Tyrone Taylor in the mix.
Arnold, asked about the payroll aspect of the trade, indicated it was more about trying to bolster a pitching group – particularly the rotation – that was very top-heavy and without much depth this past season.
“Honestly, from our perspective, it really is more about adding to our organization and dealing from a position of strength,” he said. “Anytime we’re having a conversation, we want to make sure you have the depth, and we felt like we did have that depth in the outfield. And then to be able to augment our pitching depth was a good thing as well.
Despite a pair of stints in the injured list, Renfroe hit .255 with 29 home runs while driving in 72 runs with an OPS of .807, providing a consistent bat in a lineup that was at times maddeningly inconsistent.
“That’s always the trade-off,” Arnold said. “Hunter did a really, really good job for us this year. We saw glimpses of guys like Garrett Mitchell at the end of the season, and what Tyrone Taylor did for us this season, and there are several other guys in the mix that we’re excited about.
“Certainly Hunter is going to be missed, but those guys and others in the upper levels of our system we feel good about augmenting our outfield in 2023 and beyond.”
The Angels will be Renfroe’s fifth team in five seasons. He came to the Brewers last Dec. 1 in exchange for Jackie Bradley Jr. and minor-leaguers Alex Binelas and David Hamilton.
Junk, who turns 27 on Jan. 15, is 1-2 with a 4.74 earned run average and WHIP of 1.42 in seven appearances (six starts) for the Angels in 2021 and 2022. He struck out a total of 21 batters in 24 ⅔ innings.
“Janson Junk is a good young arm,” said Arnold. “Came over from the Yankees to the Angels a couple years ago. He’s got a four-pitch mix and is a solid young starter. We believe that he has a chance to compete for a spot in our rotation potentially.
“He’s a guy that’s shown flashes in the (Angels) system and has moved fast, so we’re excited about what he can bring as a contributor for innings in 2023.”
“Elvis Peguero is another high-octane arm that we’re excited about with big stuff,” Arnold said of the 6-foot-5, 208-pounder, who averaged 96.4 mph on his sinker in 13 appearances with the Angels in 2022. “He did a really nice job last year at Triple-A and has shown good flashes and upside.”
Seminaris, who turned 24 on Oct. 19, went 7-11 in 24 appearances (21 starts) with a WHIP of 1.43 between the advanced Class A, Class AA and Class AAA levels in the Angels system this past season. He struck out 97 in 101 ⅔ innings.
“Adam Seminaris is a young left-handed starter and another guy who’s moved quickly, a fifth-rounder from the 2020 draft,” said Arnold. “He’s already gotten to Triple-A and has a four- to five-pitch mix, giving him a variety of weapons to be able to get guys out.
source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel