The hot stove is heating up and the Brewers have made their first big move of the offseason. This evening, they traded outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Angels. They received three pitchers in return: Janson Junk, Elvis Peguero, and Adam Seminaris.
Renfroe has been discussed as a potential trade chip this offseason. He has one year of team control left, and is expected to receive a large contract in his final year of arbitration (MLB Trade Rumors projects it at $11.2 million). In addition, the Brewers have several outfield prospects that are nearly MLB-ready. Garrett Mitchell, Esteury Ruiz, Sal Frelick, and Joey Wiemer could all factor into the Brewers major league roster in 2023.
Meanwhile, the Brewers received three pitchers in return. Headlining the return from the Angels is Junk, the Angels’ 16th-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline. Junk was originally drafted by the Yankees but was traded to the Angels. He rose through the minors relatively quickly, and debuted with the Angels in 2021. He’s made seven appearances (six of them starts) so far in the majors. His 2022 season was a bit rough with a 6.48 ERA, but his 3.11 FIP and 11 strikeouts in 8.1 innings show plenty of promise. In the minors in 2022, he had a 4.64 ERA and 4.34 FIP, with a 8.43 K/9 and 2.20 BB/9.
Elvis Peguero has also seen limited MLB time in his last two seasons. In 2022, he did struggle a bit with a 7.27 ERA and 5.59 FIP in the majors (over 17 1⁄3 innnings), but his minor league stats were much better. Over 38 appearances (44 1⁄3 innings), he had a 2.84 ERA, 3.34 FIP, and 10.15 K/9. He ranked 33rd in FanGraphs prospect rankings entering the 2022 season.
The final piece of the trade is Adam Seminaris. FanGraphs was high on Seminaris, ranking him 18th in the Angels system. He was drafted in 2020 but has rose quickly through the Angels system. He rose from Class-A in 2021 to High-A by the end of the season and then finished the 2022 season in AAA. He did struggle a bit in AA and AAA, but his numbers impressed enough for him to keep moving up in the system. He finished the season with a 5.24 ERA and 5.66 FIP in 9 starts at AAA but had a 4.70 ERA and 3.29 FIP in AA and a 0.98 ERA and 2.84 FIP in High-A.
Junk and Peguero are both already on the 40-man roster, and have each used up one of their option years. Both will have two options remaining at the start of the 2023 season.
Matt Arnold spoke about the trade after it was official, and made it clear the trade was not a salary dump. He saw the outfield as a position of strength and used it to add pitching that could impact the team in 2023. In addition, he specifically mentioned that Junk will get a chance to compete for a rotation spot.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.