Guardians named DH/outfielder Franmil Reyes for assignment, reports Zack Meisel of The Athletic. Although his 2022 numbers are well below his career benchmarks, this move still comes as a surprise given Reyes’ age (2022 is his 26-year-old season) and prodigious raw power. He had been optioned at Triple-A Columbus earlier this week.
Since making his debut with the Padres in 2018, Reyes has been one of the most consistent home run threats in the game despite playing home games at San Diego’s Petco Park (the most pitcher-friendly stadium in the majors) and at Progressive Field (relatively neutral but still pitcher-friendly), diving in 5.6% of his career plate appearances (the league-wide average over the same span is 3.3%). That number, however, fell to 3.2% in 2022, while his strikeout rate jumped to 37.1% (from a career 30.7%) and his walk rate fell to 5% (8 .4% in career).
Those unfortunate tendencies translated into a measly .213/.254/.350 triple slash, a far cry from his career .253/.314/.478 batting line — especially in the power department. The Guardians, who came into play Saturday two games behind the Twins in AL Central and one game behind the Rays for the final wildcard spot, will likely continue to rotate Josh Naylor and Owen Miller between first base and Reyes’ old DH spot.
Given his very real power potential – and passing the trade deadline – there could be very real interest in Reyes from the teams in contention, perhaps even before he cleared exemptions. Any team claiming the slugger would owe him a prorated portion of his $4.55 million salary in 2022, while he would only be owed a prorated portion of minimum wage thereafter. Reyes actually has two years of team control remaining, though he’s in line for at least a modest raise should a team choose to offer him a contract.