MLB

Guardians designate Franmil Reyes for assignment just days after optioning Opening Day cleanup hitter

Franmil Reyes
USATSI

The Cleveland Guardians announced a series of roster moves on their Twitter account on Saturday, most notably designating outfielder Franmil Reyes for assignment and releasing first baseman Bobby Bradley. The Guardians also swapped out right-handed pitchers, optioning Hunter Gaddis to Triple-A Columbus and purchasing the contract of Jake Jewell

Reyes, 27, entered the season as Cleveland’s cleanup hitter based on his track record of above-average offensive production. In 400-plus games prior to this season, he’d hit .260/.325/.503 (121 OPS+) with 92 home runs.

Reyes was never able to get going this season, however. He was optioned to the minors on Tuesday after batting .213/.254/.350 (72 OPS+) with just nine home runs in 70 games. Reyes’ strikeout and walk rates both took steps in the wrong direction, and he became more prone to popping up. He still hit the ball hard — his average exit velocity was ranked in the 93rd percentile — but it wasn’t enough to overcome the aforementioned developments.

The Guardians presumably viewed Reyes, who will make more than $4.5 million this season, as a non-tender candidate. They’ll now have a week to either place him on waivers or release him.

Bradley, 26, was once a touted prospect thanks to his big-time raw power. Unfortunately, his strikeout-prone ways never allowed him to establish a foothold in the majors. In 97 big-league games, he posted an 86 OPS+ and struck out in more than 37 percent of his trips to the plate.

Since demoting Reyes, the Guardians have used four different players at DH, including Josh Naylor and Owen Miller, or both parts of their first-base platoon. Cleveland promoted infield prospect Tyler Freeman to the majors on Wednesday, suggesting they could have a rotation in mind where Freeman and the other infielders — Amed Rosario, Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez — take turns serving as DH as a means of getting them all at-bats and rest.

The Guardians entered Saturday with a 54-52 mark on the season, putting them two games back in the American League Central race. The Guardians are also 2 ½ games back in the hunt for the final AL wild card spot.



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