The Guardians are in agreement on a minor league deal with fleet-footed outfielder Roman Quinn, reports Robert Murray of FanSided (Twitter link). The Roc Nation Sports client will be invited to Major League Spring Training with his new organization.
Quinn, 29, was considered one of the Phillies’ top farmhands for several years but has never appeared in more than 50 games or reached 150 plate appearances in a big league season. He held his own in brief call-ups with the Phils back in 2016 and 2018, hitting a combined .261/.335/.388 through 212 plate appearances while going 15-for-20 in stolen base attempts. However, since that time, Quinn has turned in a combined .207/.286/.326 batting line in 157 games and 387 plate appearances in the Majors.
The switch-hitting Quinn split the 2022 season between the Phillies, Royals and Rays organizations, struggling on the whole but posting a respectable .262/.340/.405 slash in 47 plate appearances with Tampa Bay to close out the season. That said, Quinn fanned in 44.7% of his plate appearances with the Rays and was buoyed by a whopping .524 average on balls in play, so his small-sample production there looked far from sustainable.
Though he’s struggled in the Majors, Quinn has had success in the upper minors, slashing .296/.358/.435 in 592 Double-A plate appearances and .287/.370/.437 in 395 Triple-A plate appearances. His speed has been an asset in the outfield, where he can handle any of the three positions and has posted above-average defensive grades in 1269 big league innings.
Quinn’s speed-and-defense skill set fits the Guardians’ mold to an extent, though he’s not the type of contact-oriented hitter that Cleveland has stockpiled in recent seasons. He’s fanned in 30.4% of his Major League plate appearances — including an alarming 35.5% clip over the past three seasons (265 plate appearances).
The Guardians’ starting outfield appears largely set, with third-place Rookie of the Year finisher Steven Kwan in left field, fellow speedster Myles Straw in center and the quietly productive Oscar Gonzalez in right field. Both Will Brennan and Will Benson are on the 40-man roster as alternatives or potential bench options, and top prospect George Valera will start the season in Triple-A and hope to improve on a pedestrian showing in his debut at that level last season. (Valera did produce a more sobust .264/.367/.470 output in Double-A prior to his promotion and is still just 22 years of age.)
Given that plethora of outfield options, Quinn will be hard-pressed to crack Cleveland’s Opening Day roster, but he’s a nice depth option to have on hand in the event of an injury (particularly if Straw ends up needing to miss time in center).