Franmil Reyes’ 2022 season did not follow the expected path of a player who appeared to be on the rise. The next step on this path could include a trip to Colombo.
After the Guardians’ 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night, Reyes was seen cleaning out his locker and hugging his teammates. He is expected to be optioned to Triple-A Columbus, but with Tuesday being Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, there are several scenarios.
Guardian Trade Deadline Breakdown: The Guardians, the 2022 MLB trade deadline and some possible paths (and a Juan Soto question)
Reyes had what looked like a cornerstone 2021 season in which he hit 30 home runs in just 115 games, but his 2022 was essentially a statistical disaster. Reyes entered Monday night hitting .214 with a .606 OPS (he hit .254 with an .846 OPS a year ago) with nine home runs, nine doubles and 28 RBIs in 69 games. His wRC+ has dropped from 125 (meaning he was 25 percent above league average as a hitter) last year to 69 this season.
Reyes avoided arbitration with a one-year, $4.55 million deal for this season and is under club control for two seasons beyond 2022. But given the influx of young talent away from home that has hit the bigs — a team that includes Stephen Kwan, Oscar Gonzalez, Nolan Jones and now Will Benson, who was promoted on Monday – the Guardians suddenly have a crowded situation, given that the team would like to get a lot of at-bats for all of them. And as far as the team’s long-term position is concerned, center fielder Miles Straw also has a spot, barring a trade.
Reyes, primarily a designated hitter with limited defensive utility, isn’t able to provide much value to the Guardians’ lineup if he doesn’t produce with his bat. His option to Triple-A would free up the DH spot in the everyday lineup, giving the Guardians some added flexibility. This would have two main advantages: it would allow Jose Ramirez to come off his feet as a reliever but remain in the lineup every now and then, and it would allow the team to rotate outfielders and find regular at-bats for their young outfielders.
It is possible that Gonzalez, who has been on the injured list since July 2 with a medial rib strain, will return to the roster on Tuesday. Manager Terry Francona said before Monday’s game that the club would “meet again” and see what the next step could be. Although there are other roster considerations besides Gonzalez’s progress that could lead to a different move. And beyond that, the looming trade deadline — 6 p.m. ET Tuesday – could lead to a number of roster moves.
Regardless, and barring some sweeping changes, it looks like Reyes won’t be on the Guardians’ active roster Tuesday in some way. Either he will be sent down to Triple-A to work through his hitting woes and try to get back on track, or he could potentially be dealt to another team willing to pay for his potential.
Amed Rosario remains hot at the plate with the trade deadline looming
Another player right in the middle of what the Guardians could do before Tuesday’s deadline, Amed Rosario, was also a key contributor Monday night to their win.
Rosario, who started heating up several weeks ago and has been a mainstay in the Guardians’ lineup ever since, had a three-hit night with a home run and three RBIs.
Since July 14, Rosario has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games and is batting .361 with eight hits and 13 RBI. Rosario also best represents the Guardians two-way trade deadline conundrum.
On one hand, Rosario has been a key piece in the lineup and a consistent contributor of late. In the short term, he has provided plenty of value while hitting between Steven Kwan and Jose Ramirez. On the other hand, Rosario is one of the few players on the Guardians league roster who is only under club control until next season. His trade value to any prospect looking for an upgrade at shortstop could be high, and his short-term control makes him a potential trade chip considering the Guardians’ roster is loaded with players under club control for several years beyond next season.
“I feel like as a team, it doesn’t seem to bother us at all, especially the way they’ve played and played the last two days,” Rosario said through a team translator, referring to the trade deadline. “Especially for me, I completely block it out. I just focus on my game.”
As with any deal, it could just depend on whether another team offers both the right fit and enough value that the Guardians can’t say no. Or, maybe the chance of a trip to the postseason is too great to move Rosario, barring an offer that blows them out of the water. After Monday’s win, the Guardians were just one game behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central, a division that due to bad stretches and injuries is very winnable. Rosario has been a key part of the Guardians’ push to contend, but his clubhouse control is waning and the Guardians are balanced with middle infield prospects who are nearing (or have already reached) major league readiness.
The Guardians already have a clear piece in their long-term middle infield in Andres Gimenez, who has already secured his first All-Star selection this season. He also helped lead the Guardians to their win on Monday night as he finished with four hits and three stolen bases. In doing so, he became only the seventh Cleveland player to record four hits and three stolen bases in the same game, and the first in more than 20 years. The last person to accomplish this feat was Kenny Lofton, who did it on September 3, 2000.
“He’s a keeper,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s getting better in front of our eyes. The ball outside the box where he gets the double. It’s like watching Jose and taking it to heart and putting it [out there].”
“It’s pretty incredible right now,” Cal Quantrill added. “The way he runs the bases. The way he plays D. He’s really a complete player. I’m so impressed. We all knew he was good, I just didn’t realize he was that good at everything. He was I couldn’t have felt more confident. to my second baseman.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/cleveland-guardians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.
This article originally appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal: Franmil Reyes expected to option to AAA. Amed Rosario remains hot