11:15am: Reyes’ contract with the Nats has opt-out dates on June 16 and July 1, Andrew Golden of the Washington Post tweets.
9:18am: The Nationals have agreed to a minor league contract with free-agent outfielder/designated hitter Franmil Reyes, per a report from Talk Nats (Twitter link). Reyes opened the season with the Royals but was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after a rough start and designated for assignment shortly thereafter. He cleared outright waivers and elected free agency last week.
The 27-year-old Reyes has a pair of 30-homer campaigns under his belt at the big league level but has seen his production take a sharp nosedive in recent seasons. After hitting .260/.325/.503 with 92 home runs in 1540 plate appearances between San Diego and Cleveland from 2018-21, the 6’5″ slugger flopped with a .221/.273/.365 batting line and 33.2% strikeout rate in 473 plate appearances between the Guardians and Cubs in 2022.
Chicago outrighted Reyes off the 40-man roster, and he elected free agency heading into the offseason. He lingered on the market into the new year but signed on with the Royals on a minor league pact. Reyes made Kansas City’s roster this spring but faded after a pair of early homers. In 65 trips to the plate, he hit just .186/.231/.288 and fanned at an ugly 36.9% clip.
Joey Meneses has been the Nationals’ primary designated hitter in 2023 and is slashing .295/.326/.387 with a pair of homers and ten doubles on the season. Reyes isn’t going to supplant Meneses anytime soon, and Dominic Smith is getting on base at a strong enough clip as the primary first baseman (.277/.361/.311) that there’s little urgency to push him out of the lineup, even if the Nats are surely hoping he’ll add some power to that output. It seems unlikely that the Nats would give Reyes substantial time in the outfield; he has just 208 innings on the grass dating back to 2020 and carries career marks of -17 Defensive Runs Saved and -10 Outs Above Average in 1420 career innings there.
Where Reyes could fit onto the big league roster is a secondary consideration at the moment anyhow. He hasn’t been a productive big league hitter since 2021, and his brief run with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate saw him go 3-for-15 with a homer and seven strikeouts. He’ll head to Triple-A Rochester for the time being and hope to pare back his strikeout rate and tap back into the power he displayed during that strong stretch from 2018-21.
As a Guardians fan I was really excited about him. Even though he’s not here anymore I hope he figures something out because he’s a fun player to root for when he’s hitting well.
Agree. When the Cubs had Morel and Reyes in the dugout you could usually see two huge smiles encouraging their teammates. But Morel has improved since then and Reyes has regressed.
Is he fun to root for when he can’t hit water when he falls out of a boat?
The Nationals don’t just lay down for teams(Mets/Phillies) anymore; it’s nice to see their rebuild moving along nicely. With Rizzo in charge, they’re seemingly in good hands.
This one belongs to the Reds
As I heard someone say once, when he hits them, they stay hit. Problem is, he needs to hit more often. Hope he figures it out.
Tom the ray fan
I remember when I thought he was Nelson Cruz 2.0
Can’t really say as a baseball fan, but looking at video from 2019/2020, compared to this year, it’s almost like he’s raising his hands a bit too high and he’s a bit slower to swing the bat then he was in 2018/2019. In 2018/2019, he got the bat through the zone much quicker than he is right now.
He would have better chance to join the A’s and maybe he could pitch for them too as they need any arm right now
Where do the nats and as get the roster space to sign multiple cast-offs a week?