It’s been a tough season for Guardians DH Franmil Reyes.
He’s batting a weak .222 with only eight homers through 207 at-bats.
Even worse, he’s sporting a minus-.5 WAR and driven in just 26 runs.
And now, Franmil Reyes is apparently being shopped by the Guardians ahead of the trade deadline, per Terry Pluto of cleveland.com.
Should Cleveland look to move Reyes?
Not Great, Fran
As mentioned, it’s been rough sledding for Reyes so far this season.
When he went down with an injury on May 24, Reyes was batting .195 with a shocking 56 strikeouts.
And Reyes was whiffing on pitches left and right, a huge reason nearly 40% of his plate appearances ended in a strikeout.
His slugging was also down to .278 and he had managed just 12 RBIs in 35 games.
All of this to say, Reyes has one job as the designated hitter: hit.
And when the bat isn’t making contact with the ball, the DH simply isn’t doing their job.
That factor becomes even more problematic given Cleveland’s offensive philosophy.
The Guardians are a bat-for-contact team.
That means Cleveland hitters are swinging with the goal to get on base.
A constant supply of hits should mean a constant supply of runs.
But even in a hit-for-contact offense, a team needs power sluggers.
And that’s what Reyes was supposed to be for the Guardians this season: an experienced vet who pounds the ball.
Franmil Reyes just stole a base. I repeat, Franmil Reyes just stole a base. pic.twitter.com/r0lZ0RsjQS
— Casey Drottar (@CDrottar19) July 12, 2022
At least, that’s what he was a season ago when his home run rate sat at 6.4%.
Or look at another metric, Base-Out Runs Added (RE24), which measures “the average number of expected runs per inning given the current number of outs and placement of baserunners.”
In sort, the RE24 stat looks at runs with batters on base.
The league average is zero, with anything better than zero being, well above average.
Last season, Reyes finished with an 11.2 RE24.
This season, that figure has literally flipped to minus-11.4.
That stat perfectly captures how poor Reyes has been at moving baserunners along with his power, which is his entire purpose in the lineup.
With those numbers and that situation, it’s no wonder why Reyes’ name is being thrown around in trade discussions.
Add in the fact that the Guardians have tried to get Reyes to play outfield, with little luck and interest from the player’s end.
The Guardians also have more defensive flexibility when Reyes is out of the lineup.
Josh Naylor can slide to DH, and Owen Miller can move over to first, which opens up the rest of the infield and outfield for younger, hungrier players.
But to his credit, Reyes has been playing much better since returning from injury on June 24.
He’s batting .270 with 14 RBIs in 19 games.
The more I see the young Cleveland talent, the more I have concerns that Franmil Reyes will not be able to keep his job as the permanent DH. He has to hit and hit with power to stick. There are just too many good young players who are hungry for their chance. Reyes has to regroup
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) July 12, 2022
But the strikeout rate is still scary; he’s been fanned 33 times across 77 plate appearances, resulting in a strikeout rate north of 42%.
So despite better contact with the ball, he’s still an almost guaranteed out.
Opposing pitchers love that.
Especially down a season’s stretch and into the postseason.
Unfortunately, the Guardians already have several other players who are similar “guarantee outs” in Austin Hedges and (though he’s been much better lately) Myles Straw.
If the Guardians can get a little more offense from a trade involving Reyes, they should absolutely go for it.