By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
In their first notable addition of the offseason, the Red Sox have signed outfielder Hunter Renfroe to a one-year deal. The team announced the signing early Monday afternoon.
According to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, on it’s surface the deal is for one year and worth a maximum of $3.7 million. Using arbitration, the Red Sox can keep Renfroe under contract through the 2023 season.
This is not Renfroe’s first exposure to the Red Sox organization. He was drafted by the club in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB Draft, but elected not to sign and instead played college baseball at Mississippi State. That patience paid off, and he was taken 13th overall in 2013 by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Renfroe gives the Red Sox a right-handed power bat. In his last full season, he hit 33 home runs in 140 games for the San Diego Padres, while batting .216. After being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays last winter, he hit just .156 with eight home runs in an abbreviated 2020 season.
New @RedSox OF Hunter Renfroe hit a 470-foot HR in 2019 against the Rockies.— Mike Monaco (@MikeMonaco_) December 14, 2020
His longest (measured) HR in 2020 was 445 feet against the Red Sox.
He also hit this bomb at Fenway in August, which didn’t register a distance on @Statcast. pic.twitter.com/souuErTuac
As Renfroe looks to turn things around in 2021, Fenway will be an ideal place for him to do so. A pull hitter who hits a lot of fly balls, he should be able to pepper the Green Monster, with would-be fly out turning into base hits.
Renfroe will likely see time as a fourth outfielder and a right-handed option to platoon with the Red Sox current corner outfielders Andrew Benintendi and Alex Verdugo, who are both lefties.
While he’s spent most of his career as a right fielder (243 starts), with occasional appearances in left (119 starts), Renfroe has just one career start in center field. That means that while the Red Sox now have a fourth outfielder, they are still searching for one of their top three, needing a replacement for Jackie Bradley Jr.
It is possible Verdugo could move to center, a position he played semi-regularly in Los Angeles, but even then the team would likely still need another outfielder. Chaim Bloom told reporters after Renfroe’s signing that “we still have room to augment that [group] with a center fielder or a corner outfielder.”
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.