Thursday, February 22, 2024

Royals sign OF Hunter Renfroe to one-year Major League contract

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have signed outfielder Hunter Renfroe to a one-year Major League contract, with a player option for 2025. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Max Castillo has been designated for assignment and Kansas City’s Major League Reserve List remains at 40.

Renfroe, 31, spent the majority of the 2023 season with the Los Angeles Angels, slashing .242/.304/.434 (111-for-459, .737 OPS) with 31 doubles, 19 home runs, 56 RBI and 56 runs scored over 126 games. He was acquired off waivers by Cincinnati on Aug. 31, and he played in 14 games for the Reds before being released on Sept. 21. He collected his 20th home run with the Reds, registering his fourth consecutive 162-game season with at least 20 home runs, making him just one of 23 players to do so since 2019.

Since 2017, he has registered six-straight 162-game seasons of at least 50 extra-base hits (2017-19, ’21-23), tied for the most such seasons in the Majors with Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado, J.D. Martinez, José Ramírez and Eugenio Suárez. He is a career .239 (702-for-2938) hitter with 162 doubles, 177 home runs, 454 RBI and 405 runs scored across 841 games.

Renfroe has displayed a strong throwing arm since he reached the Majors in 2016, highlighted by his 65 outfield assists since his debut, the 2nd-most assists in the Majors over that span. Since 2020 he has ranked in the 90th-percentile-or-higher in arm strength each season, per Baseball Savant. That includes in 2021 when his average throws of 94.6 mph paced the American League and were 2nd to only San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. He was named a Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalist in 2019 and 2021.

He has made 23 appearances in the postseason over his eight-year big league career, most recently with Boston in 2021 as he helped guide the Red Sox to the American League Championship Series vs. Houston. He also hit a grand slam off Hyun Jin Ryu in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series vs. Toronto in 2020 while playing for Tampa Bay.

Renfroe was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 31st round of the 2010 Draft out of Copiah Academy (Miss.), but elected to pursue his education at Mississippi State University, where he was teammates with recent Royals signee Chris Stratton (2011-12). He was selected by San Diego in the 1st round (13th overall) of the 2013 Draft and was signed by Padres scout Andrew Salvo.

Castillo, 24, has appeared in 12 games (4 starts) with the Royals since being acquired at the Trade Deadline in 2022, going 0-3 with a 6.69 ERA (29 ER in 39.0 IP) and 27 strikeouts.

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