Renfroe signing may lead to Red Sox adding high-profile pitching
Will Hunter Renfroe be this year’s Jose Peraza for the Boston Red Sox? Time will tell on that but the low average is usually associated with holes in a swing and those are quickly discovered by the clever minds of the more diligent pitchers. In the pitching brotherhood, word gets around and it is a survival instinct despite the uniform. Renfroe appears to be this era’s answer to Dave Kingman or for a contemporary comparison Joey Gallo.
Today a strikeout total is somewhat diminished and is considered collateral damage in the art of hitting. The problem is that art is no longer a Monet but dogs playing poker. The often pronounced critique of Babe Ruth by his detractors was his strikeout totals – Ruth never topped a 100 in a season – a total that can be achieved in half a real season today. See the previously mentioned Gallo.
I am not being dismissive of the Red Sox acquisition of Renfroe as he is young, is a reasonable defender, and can be a long ball threat. The sample is minuscule but Renfoe apparently has a fondness for Fenway Park, hitting .364 with a pair of home runs in just two games. Some may be comfortable extrapolating that into 81 over the course of a non-COVID season.
I happen to be dismissive of one aspect of Renfroe, a right-hand hitter, and that is the potential to mix and match with the lefties Alex Verdugo and Andrew Benintendi. Verdugo actually hits the southpaws better than right-handers. Based on 2020, Benintendi would have difficulties with a lefty tossing a beachball.
More from Red Sox News
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Why Red Sox fans should be rooting for Carlos Correa’s Mets deal to go through
Renfroe fits the mold of what Chaim Bloom and his multi-leveled title have done in the past. The Tampa Bay roster had Renfroe and they managed to have more success than the top of the line – the best money can buy – that Boston stuffed in their lineup. The very good news is the money and that is the famous words “Team Control” as the Red Sox can pay Renfroe or do to him what they did to Peraza.
The big concern that has Red Sox fans worry beads being pulverized is pitching. Renfroe is simply a small fish in the ongoing struggle to resuscitate the Red Sox and it comes down to arms. Saving money on Renfroe can be directed elsewhere – pitching. A big splash or several smaller ones since the Red Sox now will have $30 MM to tap before maxing out on that dastardly Luxury Tax.
Bloom will examine the pitching landscape and the names are being bandied about such as Corey Kluber – a reclamation project, but fits the mold of possible value unless another team drives up the price. The Red Sox have also been mentioned as in the pot regarding another Japanese import, right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano. Sugano will be pricey and that could limit the Red Sox adventurism in the free-agent market. Sugano is an innings-eater and a payroll eater.
The Red Sox could also be industrious and clear payroll if they can find a buyer (sucker) to take Benintendi and Matt Barnes. A cool $11 MM added to the coffers to allocate elsewhere that could be a blessing or come back to haunt them – just think David Price.
Since this is an opinion piece, I will go forward and place myself in a position that will be most difficult to extricate from – the Red Sox will sign Sugano and clear some more payroll. I believe Sugano just may be the end game for Boston. The only escape clause for me is if Kluber shows enough and is cheap enough the Red Sox will opt in that direction. In another age of tossing money to the winds, it would be both.