Red Sox sign slugging outfielder Hunter Renfroe to one-year deal

The Red Sox have signed free-agent outfielder Hunter Renfroe to a one-year contract for the 2021 season, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Renfroe, who turns 29 next month, was designated for assignment by the Rays in late November. The right-handed hitting outfielder slashed a measly .156/.252/.393 to go along with eight home runs and 22 RBI over 42 games for Tampa Bay this past season.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Renfroe will earn a base salary of $3.1 million in 2021, but his deal includes bonuses that could bump that number up to $3.7 million.

Because he was just about to enter his first season of arbitration eligibility, Renfroe could remain with the Sox through the end of the 2023 campaign. The former Padres prospect clubbed 26 or more homers in each of his first three full seasons with San Diego, and he was part of the trade that sent fellow outfielder Tommy Pham to the Pads last December.

One would have to figure that although he had already joined Boston’s front office as chief baseball officer at that time, Chaim Bloom very well could have been involved in the process leading up to that trade for Renfroe while he was still serving under Erik Neander in Tampa Bay.

Prior to getting drafted by the Padres in the first round of the 2013 draft out of Mississippi State University, Renfroe was initially selected by Boston in the 21st round of the 2010 amateur draft out of high school, but the club could not get him to sign.

Now, more than 10 years later, Renfroe joins the Red Sox representing some pretty important outfield depth considering the fact he has experience at all three outfield positions, primarily in left and right.

On top of that, Renfroe has an impressive track record against left-handed pitching over the course of his major-league career, as he has posted a .912 OPS in 495 lifetime plate appearances against southpaws thus far.

With that in mind, we could see the former Bulldog potentially form a platoon in left field with Andrew Benintendi, who owns a career .691 OPS against lefties.

Bloom could very well address this topic when he speaks to reporters via Zoom later this afternoon, so stay tuned for that.

Red Sox Third-Round Draft Pick Blaze Jordan Not Taking Anything for Granted

Newest Red Sox draftee Blaze Jordan has been in the spotlight since he was in the eighth grade, if not earlier. He was a consensus top-100 prospect headed into this year’s draft, but that did not stop the 17-year-old from feeling some angst this past week.

Speaking with MassLive.Com’s Chris Cotillo on The Fenway Rundown podcast, Jordan went over how things went on Wednesday and on Thursday.

“I’m not gonna lie, it was a pretty stressful process,” he said. “Especially that first night, because I knew there was a shot I could go that night. I was just waiting it out and seeing when it happens.

“The next day came and Boston called, and when I heard my name get called I actually started crying a bit because all that stress and stuff that was built up. It’s always been one of my dreams and I was just really fortunate to get picked by a great organization like the Red Sox. It was truly a great experience.”

Selected in the third round with the 89th overall pick, Jordan was one of the most well known draft-eligible prospects as previously mentioned. He was even dubbed ‘the next Bryce Harper’ as a 15-year-old. All that attention was tough to deal with at first, but the Mississippi native was eventually able to turn it into a positive.

“It was kind of hard, especially being that young,” Jordan said of being recognized at such a young age. “I would walk into a travel ball tournament and every team would know who I am and other teams would start to pitch me different and when they would get me out, they would get really excited.”

He added, “It made it a lot harder to play because it was stressful sometimes, but over time, I started to enjoy it because once that many people start to know you, a lot of kids would love to be in the situation I was in. Once all that pressure started getting put on me, I felt like it was helping me for the future and I felt like it helped me get to where I am today.”

Going back to that Bryce Harper comparison, Jordan says at first, it was “crazy” to be compared to a player of that caliber at such a young age. However, he added that, “I would definitely want to be in the position he’s in, but I also feel like I’m a different type of player. My goal is not just to be as good as him, but better. That’s what your goal has to be, to be the best one out there day in and day out.”

Another aspect of the Harper comparison can be attributed to Jordan’s personality and social media presence. With over 85,000 followers on Instagram, Jordan has already established quite the social media following for himself. He says he wants to use his platform in a positive manner and be a player fans can gravitate towards.

“I really hope I can be one of those guys fans know on a personal level,” the Mississippi State commit said. “I’m hoping that I can just have some good fan interactions and bring people back to the ballpark with excitement.”

Regarding the social media aspect, Jordan says, “The biggest thing for me is just trying to keep everything positive and try not to post anything negative. I know a lot of kids look up to me and I try to keep it to stuff kids would enjoy looking at.

“It’s really cool to interact with people through social media so they can see what I do in my life. I didn’t really mean for it to blow up, it just kind of happened and I went with it. It’s a true blessing because it’s a good platform to be on and share my life.”

The Red Sox drafted Jordan as a third baseman, but with 23-year-old Rafael Devers entrenched in the position at the big-league level for the foreseeable future, that may create a roadblock for the 2020 draftee to get to the majors. Still, he sees himself as a third baseman in the long term.

“I definitely feel like I should stay at third base,” he said. “Because I feel like I’ve put my body in the position to be able to play third base and I know my arm is definitely strong enough to play third.”

Although he can play first base, Jordan wants to continue to develop at third and “continue to work hard” because he knows he has things he can improve upon, such as his strength and conditioning.

Due to the current circumstances in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no timetable for when minor-league baseball will return. It likely won’t be this year, but that’s not stopping Jordan from looking ahead to his eventual minor-league debut if he does sign with Boston.

“Once I get there, I’m just going to be that average guy that’s going into the park,” Jordan said. “I’m going to have to fight for a spot and continue to work my butt off and try to go out there and have fun and continue to play my game.”

You can follow Jordan on Instagram here.