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

USATSIA

The Cleveland Guardians announced a series of roster moves on their Twitter account on Saturday, notably appointing outfielder Franmil Reyes for assignment and releasing first baseman Bobby Bradley. The Guardians also switched right-handed pitchers, choosing Hunter Gaddis for Triple-A Columbus and buying Jake Jewell’s contract.

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

However, Reyes was never able to get going this season. He was selected for the minors on Tuesday after hitting .213/.254/.350 (72 OPS+) with only nine homeruns in 70 games. Reyes’ strikeout and walking speeds both took steps in the wrong direction, and he became more prone to popping up. He still hit the ball hard – his average exit speed was in the 93rd percentile – but it wasn’t enough to overcome the developments mentioned above.

The Guardians considered Reyes, who will earn more than $4.5 million this season, a presumably a non-tender candidate. They now have a week to put him on waivers or release him.

Bradley, 26, was once a touted prospect thanks to his great brute strength. Unfortunately, his strikeout-prone ways never allowed him to gain a foothold in the majors. In 97 games in the top league, he posted an 86 OPS+ and scored 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 pack. 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 to get them all. at bats and rest.

The Guardians started the season on Saturday with a score of 54-52, bringing them back two games in the American League Central race. The Guardians are also 2½ games back in the hunt for the last AL wildcard spot.

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