Hunter Renfroe trade is a sign the Angels are all-in for next season

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The Angels traded for Hunter Renfroe, continuing to spend big this offseason and make another big push to win now with stars Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

After Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian declared that Shohei Ohtani wouldn’t be traded, one rival executive texted: “Looks like Arte [Moreno] is gearing up for one last run [before he sells the team].”

Then the Angels acquired infielder Gio Urshela from the Minnesota Twins. Then they signed left-hander Tyler Anderson to a three-year, $39 million contract. Then on Tuesday night, they acquired outfielder Hunter Renfroe from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for three pitching prospects: Janson Junk, Elvis Peguero and Adam Seminaris.

And the Angels are not done.

The Angels are going all in with Hunter Renfroe and more to improve this season

The Angels remain on the lookout for more offensive depth and bullpen upgrades. They are not close to any other deals following the Renfroe trade, but their early aggressiveness continues a trend from Moreno’s teams: attempting to win at all costs despite having not made the playoffs since 2014 or winning a postseason game since 2009.

Their three additions — Urshela, Anderson and Renfroe — are projected to earn a combined $33.4 million. Their payroll is currently $191.2 million, according to FanGraphs, which would be a franchise record. Still, despite Moreno’s constant quest to win now, Minasian has acquired each of the Angels’ top-seven prospects, highlighted by top prospect Logan O’Hoppe who was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder Brandon Marsh.

Of their offseason moves, Renfroe profiles as the most shocking. The Brewers had made it clear in recent weeks that Renfroe, projected to earn $11.2 million in arbitration, was available. The 30-year-old deepens their lineup (he hit 29 home runs last season) and adds a player who Brewers general manager Matt Arnold recently called one of the best outfield defenders in baseball.

As for the Brewers, it continues their quest to shed salary. They traded superstar closer Josh Hader to the Padres at last year’s trade deadline. They declined reliever Brad Boxberger’s $3 million club option and lost left-hander Brent Suter on waivers to the Rockies. There are now indications that Kolten Wong, who is scheduled to earn $10 million in 2023, is also available, with the Seattle Mariners among the potential fits.

The Brewers’ desire to shed salary is to the Angels’ benefit and gives them a roster that Minasian believes is “significantly” better. Will it result in their first winning season since 2015? Time will tell. But Moreno is giving it his best shot — and there is surely more to come.

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