The Royals have signed slugger Franmil Reyes to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com reporter Anne Rogers. The 27-year-old hit .221/.273/.365 with 14 home runs in 118 games with the Guardians and Cubs last year, but had two 30+ home run seasons in his career.
Reyes began his career with the Padres but was traded to Cleveland in a three-way trade in July of 2019. He hit a career-high 37 home runs that year between the two teams, then smacked 30 home runs with the Guardians in 2021 with a career-best OPS of .828. But Cleveland placed him on waivers in August of 2022 after he got off to a poor start, and he finished the year with the Cubs. Overall he has hit .251/.313/.470 with 106 home runs in 529 games in parts of five seasons.
Reyes provides some right-handed power, something the Royals have been looking for to counter-balance left-handed bats like MJ Melendez and Vinnie Pasquantino. He has tremendous power, still ranking among the league leaders in average exit velocity. He also whiffs a ton - his 30.7 percent strikeout rate since 2019 is the seventh-highest in baseball. He can play some right field but has been a poor defender, and will likely be subject to mostly DH duties.
With such a young lineup, the Royals could use another power bat to protect some of the young hitters. Reyes could compete for a roster spot and earn time at DH, where the Royals aren’t likely to have a set hitter at the position other than when Salvador Perez won’t DH.