The White Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Víctor Reyes, tweets Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free-Press. Scott Merkin of MLB.com first reported the sides were discussing a potential non-roster deal with an invite to big league Spring Training earlier this week (Twitter link).
Reyes sticks in the AL Central, where he’s spent the past five years with the Tigers. Previously a member of the Arizona organization, he landed in Detroit as the first pick in the 2017 Rule 5 draft. Reyes managed just a .222/.239/.288 line in 100 games as a rookie, but the rebuilding Detroit club held him on the roster all season to gain his long-term contractual rights. He’d spend four more seasons with the Tigers, typically appearing in around half their MLB games each year.
The 28-year-old has tallied just under 1300 plate appearances at the MLB level. He’s a .264/.294/.379 career hitter, offense that checks in 17 points below league average by measure of wRC+. Reyes has decent bat-to-ball skills and hits for a solid batting average, but he rarely walks or makes much of an impact from a power perspective. It was a similar story in 2022, as the Venezuela native posted a .254/.289/.362 mark through a personal-high 336 trips to the plate.
A solid runner with a strong throwing arm, Reyes has ample experience at all three outfield spots. He has played over 1000 MLB innings in right field, more than 900 frames in center and just under 700 innings in left. Public defensive metrics typically peg him as an average to slightly below-average defender at each spot, but he’s athletic enough to handle any of those positions off the bench.
Reyes’ stint in Detroit came to a close at the end of the season, when he cleared waivers and became a minor league free agent. He’d been projected for a $2.2MM salary if tendered an arbitration contract, making it a fairly easy call for first-year president of baseball operations Scott Harris to move on.
The White Sox have room for improvement at both corner outfield spots. Luis Robert has center field secured, and Eloy Jiménez would be penciled back in left field if he’s not used primarily at designated hitter. Right field is completely up in the air, with rookie Oscar Colás or first baseman/corner outfielder Gavin Sheets looking the favorites for reps. The Sox non-tendered Adam Engel and saw AJ Pollock opt out of the final year of his contract, leaving them with just Robert, Sheets and Jiménez as outfielders on the 40-man roster. They’re sure to add some help later in the offseason, but there’s presently plenty of opportunity for a non-roster invitee like Reyes to earn a bench job in Spring Training.