Franmil Reyes hopes offseason work puts him in outfield mix

Reyes has his eyes on the outfield in 2020

James Rapien
December 05, 2019 - 3:23 pm
Sep 19, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter Franmil Reyes (32) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY S

David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND, OH – The Indians hope Franmil Reyes is just scratching the surface of his potential.

The 24-year-old plans to report to spring training in better shape, which could lead to him playing in the outfield. Reyes spent most of his time at designated hitter last season.

“His strength is his power and his bat,” Indians General Manager Mike Chernoff told Bull and Fox on Wednesday. “He expressed to us at the end of the season that he’s interested in getting in better physical shape so that he could contribute more in the outfield. That would align with what we would hope also.”

Reyes works out regularly at the Indians’ facility in the Dominican. The club acquired him last July in a 3-way trade that sent Trevor Bauer to the Reds.

Reyes is known for his power at the plate. He looks more like an offensive lineman than he does an outfielder at 6’5” tall and 275 pounds.

“He is f––ing huge,” manager Terry Francona said last season. “When he walked through that door, I was like holy s––, I mean it’s like a f––ing mammoth.”

Reyes finished with 37 home runs and 81 RBI last season. The Indians believe he can get into better shape and become more versatile, without losing any of his power.

“To be able to have a guy who can go and play the outfield capably and physically be able to handle that workload if he has to play a few days a few days in a row –– that’s huge for us,” Chernoff said.

Reyes probably won't be an everyday outfielder for the Tribe, but he could give Francona another option to rely on during the long 162-game season. 

Reyes is just one of the many outfielders the Indians have on their roster going into 2020. Guys like Jordan Luplow, Jake Bauers, Bradley Zimmer and Greg Allen could all be in the mix for significant playing time at the corner spots.

The Indians did appear to find their center fielder of the present and the future last season in Oscar Mercado. It sounds like the club will be open to adding to the outfield, but they’re also comfortable with what they have, especially if Reyes can be a regular contributor.

Daniel Johnson played well in the minor leagues last season. He posted a .290/.361/.507 slash line in 123 games, finishing with 19 home runs and 77 RBI. He had a .306 batting average in 84 games with Triple-A Columbus.

Johnson will be in the outfield mix and could be the 2020 version of Mercado if things go as planned for the Tribe.

“We’re really optimistic about the talent that we have there and hopefully what they can do in 2020,” Chernoff said.