Brewers acquire 3 pitchers from Angels for Renfroe

November 23rd, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers sent right fielder Hunter Renfroe -- with his big power, big arm and big salary -- to the Angels late Tuesday in the biggest trade to date of the Matt Arnold era in Milwaukee.

The Crew acquired three pitchers: right-handers Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero and Minor League left-hander Adam Seminaris. The deal adds to the Brewers’ stable of Major League-ready pitching, opens a spot for one of Milwaukee’s many Major League-ready outfield prospects and carries significant payroll implications.

Cot’s Contracts projected Renfroe would earn more than $11 million in arbitration this winter heading into his final season before free agency, and he was on a long list of Brewers players due significant raises in the arbitration process. But Arnold, who is in his first full month at the helm of Milwaukee's baseball operations department, characterized this as a baseball trade and not a salary dump.

“Honestly, from our perspective, it is more about adding to our organization and dealing from a position of strength,” Arnold said. “We feel like we had that depth in the outfield, and to be able to augment our pitching depth, it was a good thing.”

Renfroe was arguably the Brewers’ most consistent hitter in 2022, leading the team’s regulars with an .807 OPS while hitting 23 doubles and 29 home runs with 72 RBIs in 125 games. It was his lone season in Milwaukee after the Crew acquired Renfroe from the Red Sox last December.

Now, with left fielder Christian Yelich the only Brewers outfielder with a set spot, those at-bats are up for grabs among Milwaukee's top prospects, many of whom are big league-ready. They include speedster Esteury Ruiz (the Brewers' No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline), who was acquired from the Padres in the Josh Hader trade in August, and Garrett Mitchell (No. 5), who made a successful Major League debut late last season.

Other prospects in the mix include Sal Frelick (the Crew's No. 2 prospect), who is a center-field type like Mitchell, and Joey Wiemer (No. 3), a prototypical right fielder with the system’s strongest throwing arm and prodigious power. The Brewers also have incumbent outfielder Tyrone Taylor, who played all three outfield positions last season.

Of losing Renfroe’s offensive production, Arnold said, “That’s always the trade-off. Hunter did a really good job for us this year. We saw glimpses of guys like Garrett Mitchell at the end of the season stepping up, and what Tyrone Taylor did for us at the end of the season. There are several other guys in our mix that we’re excited about. … What it does is it gives a lot of guys opportunities here. We have a core of guys who are in the mix to compete. Whether it’s on Opening Day is still to be determined. We have a long way to go between now and then.”

The 26-year-old Junk has the clearest path to significant innings for the Brewers in 2023. He was the Angels' No. 16 prospect and appeared in seven games (six starts) for the Halos over the past two seasons, making his Major League debut in 2021.

“He’s got a good four-pitch mix and is a solid young starter, we believe, that has a chance to compete for a spot in our rotation potentially," Arnold said. "He has moved fast through the [Minor Leagues]. We’re excited about what he can bring for innings in 2023.”

It’s the second time that Junk and Peguero were traded together. They came to the Angels from the Yankees as part of a package for left-hander Andrew Heaney on July 30, 2021.

Junk and Peguero are already on the 40-man roster and have options remaining. Peguero, 25, made 16 relief appearances for the Angels over the past two seasons and figures to pitch out of the Brewers' bullpen when he debuts.

“He’s a guy with a live arm, a high-octane arm, that we’re excited about,” Arnold said. “It’s big stuff.”

Seminaris, 24, was selected by the Angels in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft out of Long Beach State and is being developed as a starter. He split the '22 season between High-A Tri-City, Double-A Rocket City and Triple-A Salt Lake, posting a 3.54 ERA over 24 games (21 starts). Over his Minor League career thus far, Seminaris has produced 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

“Another guy who has moved quickly,” Arnold said. “He has a four- to five-pitch mix with a lot of weapons he can get guys out with.

“Between the three of these guys, we feel really good about insulating the arms that we already feel good about at the Major League level.”