Reds Acquire Harrison Bader, Hunter Renfroe
The Reds have acquired outfielders Harrison Bader and Hunter Renfroe via waivers to bolster their playoff push, adding veteran players to their young roster. The move allows the Yankees and Angels to shed salary and potentially avoid luxury tax penalties.
The Cincinnati Reds have made a significant move to bolster their roster for the stretch run of the season. They have acquired outfielders Harrison Bader and Hunter Renfroe from the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels, respectively. Both players bring a combination of skills that will contribute to the Reds' push for a playoff spot.
Bader is known for his exceptional defense in center field. Throughout his career, he has accumulated impressive defensive metrics, including 53 Defensive Runs Saved, 67 Outs Above Average, and a 46.7 grade from Ultimate Zone Rating. However, injuries have been a concern for Bader, as he has only played in more than 103 games in a season twice. Despite his defensive prowess, Bader's offensive numbers have been average, with a career batting line of .244/.312/.399 and a wRC+ of 93. This season, he is hitting .240/.278/.365 with a 76 wRC+. On the basepaths, Bader has showcased his speed by stealing 74 bases in his career, including 17 this season.
On the other hand, Renfroe is known for his power at the plate. He has consistently shown the ability to hit for power, with 60 home runs and a batting line of .257/.315/.496 from 2021 to 2022, resulting in a wRC+ of 118. However, his offensive production has dipped slightly this year, with a .242/.304/.434 line and a 98 wRC+. Renfroe's defense and speed are considered subpar compared to his offensive abilities.
Both Bader and Renfroe became available on waivers as their respective teams fell out of contention. As impending free agents, neither player was expected to receive a qualifying offer at the end of the season. The Reds, being in the playoff race but with a worse record than some other contenders, were able to claim both players off waivers.
The addition of Bader and Renfroe adds depth to the Reds' outfield. Currently, the team has TJ Friedl in center field, with Will Benson and Nick Senzel manning the corners. Stuart Fairchild, TJ Hopkins, and Jake Fraley also provide depth options. The Reds may need to make adjustments to their lineup to accommodate the new additions. Senzel, who has struggled offensively this year, could potentially be replaced by Renfroe. Friedl's recent slump may open up playing time for Bader. Additionally, there is the designated hitter slot, which has been filled by Nick Martini.
The Reds will take on some financial cost in acquiring Bader and Renfroe. Bader has around $783K left on his $4.7MM salary, while Renfroe has approximately $1.98MM remaining on his $11.9MM salary. In total, the Reds will be responsible for about $2.76MM in salary. However, the savings for the Yankees and Angels will be greater.
For the Yankees, claiming Bader off waivers allows them to shed the remainder of his contract and potentially reduce their luxury tax bill. The team is set to pay the luxury tax for the second consecutive year and has been near the fourth Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) tier. By saving money on Bader's contract, the Yankees can lower their tax liability.
The Angels, who were just above the lowest CBT threshold, may benefit from shedding Renfroe's contract as well. The Guardians also made claims on players, potentially pushing the Angels below the tax line. The official status will be determined in the offseason. If the Angels successfully avoid the luxury tax, it could impact the compensatory draft pick they receive if Shohei Ohtani rejects a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere. Paying the luxury tax pushes the compensatory pick back, affecting the Angels' draft position.
Overall, the Reds' acquisition of Bader and Renfroe adds depth and talent to their outfield. While there may be adjustments needed to the lineup, the team is willing to take on the financial cost in hopes of securing a postseason berth. The Yankees and Angels benefit from shedding salary and potentially reducing their luxury tax bills. The impact of these moves will be seen both on the field and in future draft positioning.