The Houston Astros are in desperate need of outfield depth and recently designated for assignment Hunter Renfroe could make sense.
On Friday, the Astros and other 29 teams promoted players to the 40-man roster to protect them from being eligible for the Rule 5 draft. However, to clear room on rosters, some players were released or designated for assignment.
The Tampa Bay Rays designated outfielder Hunter Renfroe for assignment, and he appears to be a strong fit for the Houston Astros.
Renfroe, 28, was acquired by the Rays in a trade with the San Diego Padres. He became the teams primary right fielder and underwhelmed in 42 games, hitting just .156/.252/.393 in 2020 with eight home runs and 22 RBI. He was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $3.5 million in arbitration and was a primary candidate to be non-tendered on Dec. 2.
It is possible that some team looks to add Renfroe via waivers or trade, but with most of baseball dealing with financial constraints, it appears likely he’ll become a free agent. And he is someone teams, especially the Astros, should be interested in on a low-risk, high-reward type deal.
Renfroe is only one year removed from hitting 33 home runs with the Padres and hit at least 26 homers in three straight seasons. He would provide the Astros with another power bat and solid defense in the outfield, but he struggles to get on base (he hit .235 in four seasons in San Diego).
With George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick all free agents, the Astros are actively looking for outfield help. They are talking to Brantley about a deal and are reportedly interested in Jackie Bradley Jr. They are casting a wide net in their search and will have internal conversations about Renfroe. If he does clear waivers, he is someone the team should strongly consider signing to a one-year deal to be the No. 4 outfielder in 2021.
Signing Renfroe would not take the Astros out of the running for Bradley Jr. or any other outfielder. But he would provide the team with the dependable outfield depth it needs. There are no reports yet linking Houston to Renfroe, but it makes too much sense for general manager James Click not to explore.