After being traded from the Padres to the Rays in a multiplayer offseason deal, Hunter Renfroe didn’t get much of a chance to hit against the AL East in 2020 for a variety of reasons.
He’ll get another chance to do so in 2021
Renfroe signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox on Monday. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe notes that he’s going to get a $3.1 million salary, and there are $600,000 in possible incentives. This is right around what the former first-round pick was projected to earn in Tampa Bay before the Rays decided to non-tender him right before the deadline.
On paper, this is a low-risk, (potentially and relatively) high-reward signing for the Red Sox. Yes, Renfroe was awful in 2020; awful is an understatement after he hit just .156/.253/.393 with a 37/14 K/BB ratio. As bad as those numbers are, it’s important to keep in mind that they came in just 139 plate appearances. The season before with the Padres, the 28-year-old hit 33 homers in 140 games, and he hit 26 roundtrippers in both the 2017 and 2018 campaigns.
Power has never been an issue for the former Mississippi State star and the 13th pick of the 2013 draft. Hitting for average and getting on-base is another story. Renfroe owns a career .228 average in five seasons, and his .290 on-base percentage shows how little patience he’s shown at the plate going forward. He’s also a solid defender in the outfield, however, and while that won’t help a fantasy roster, it does help him stay in the lineup.
It would probably be a mistake to use a high draft pick on Renfroe because he’s essentially a one-category player, but he’s someone worth keeping an eye on, and when he’s in the lineup against left-handed pitching, he’ll be an intriguing DFS option in 2021.
Holland comes back to Royals one one-year deal
The big-name relievers -- yes, there are such things as big-name relievers -- like Liam Hendriks and Kirby Yates remain on the market, but a few options have put pen to paper, and Greg Holland joined them on Monday by re-signing with the Royals.
Holland, 34, signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract to stay in Kansas City, with Alec Lewis of The Athletic adding that he can make $1.5 million in performance bonuses. After several years of struggling with injuries and not pitching well when he was able to pitch, Holland reminded of how good he was not all that long ago. He was able to save six games in the truncated campaign, and he registered a 1.91 ERA and 31/7 K/BB ratio over 28 1/3 innings.
It’s a small sample, but Holland looked the part in 2020, and he should remain the stopper to begin the year for the Royals in 2021.
Cleveland to change name before 2022 season
Cleveland has been known by their current team name for over a century. That’ll change in 2022. As first reported by The New York Times, Cleveland will drop the name Indians next season.
The decision comes after Paul Dolan announced over the summer that the team would explore a name change. This came right around the same time that Washington decided to (finally) change their team name not long before the start of the 2020 NFL season.
Unlike the Washington Football Team, Cleveland will not go nameless in 2021, which is a bit of an odd decision, and assuredly has something to do with the financial aspects. Some suggested names include the Spiders, Naps, Rocks among others, but nothing is official other than that they will go with a new moniker after this season. Dolan did announce that “Tribe” will not be an option for the new team name.
It’s about time.
LeMahieu, Yankees long ways apart on potential new deal
In terms of just pure offensive ability, there might not be a better bat on the market than DJ LeMahieu. After being underpaid -- relatively, before anyone screams -- for two years with the Yankees while putting up elite numbers, LeMahieu is looking to take advantage, and while a reunion with New York is the most likely landing spot, it might not be happening anytime soon.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Yankees and LeMahieu are more than $25 million apart currently. The specifics of what both parties want are unknown, but this is obviously not an insignificant number. The 32-year-old led baseball in average last year with a .364 clip -- the second time he finished in the top spot in his career -- and in his two seasons in the Bronx, the former Colorado infielder slashed .336/.386/.536 with 36 homers, 129 RBI and eight steals over 195 games.
While LeMahieu re-signing with the Yankees has been the most likely outcome, it’s not due to a shortage of suitors. The Blue Jays and Mets have both been mentioned as potential landing spot, with the former being slightly more likely than the latter based on
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Quick Hits: Craig Mish of SportsGrid reports Adam Conley has signed a contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan … Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears the Rays have talked about a reunion with free agent right-hander Chris Archer … Alex Speier of the Boston Globe hears the Red Sox are interested in free agent left-hander Rich Hill and free agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi. Both were with the Twins in 2020 … Royals re-signed OF Bubba Starling to a minor league contract … Buster Olney of ESPN reports that Corey Kluber (shoulder) is expected to throw bullpen sessions for interested teams later this month … Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Kurt Suzuki "is a free agent of interest" to the Angels. The Angels were reportedly the runner-up for James McCann … Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that Robert Suarez has re-signed with Japan's Hanshin Tigers on a one-year contract with a player option for 2022 … Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports that the Phillies "drew numerous trade inquiries" on Vince Velasquez prior to their decision to tender him a contract … Red Sox president Chaim Bloom said Monday that Alex Verdugo would likely be the starting center fielder if the season started today.