Former MLB 2-Time 30-Home Run Hitter Signs in Japan

After six seasons in the major leagues, including  a couple of 30 home run campaigns, there was very little interest during the 2023 season in 28-year-old slugger Franmil Reyes. He expressed an interest to return to his old team, the Cleveland Guardians during this off-season, but they were apparently not interested. With that, he’s now decided to take his talents to Japan, signing on with the Nippon Ham Fighters. 

It's a one-year deal for Reyes, who'll join Shohei Ohtani's old team in the NPB. Reyes got into just 19 games at the major league level last season, batting just .186 with a couple of long balls for the Kansas City Royals.

At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, the Dominican slugger looked like a promising power bat for the San Diego Padres when he emerged in 2018. In 87 games in his rookie season, he blasted 16 homers with an .838 OPS and a career-high OPS+ of 131. Reyes followed that up the next season with 37 home runs, split between the Friars and the Cleveland Guardians. 

His penchant for striking out, however, was his downfall going forward. Although he had another 30-homer season for Cleveland in 2021, he also whiffed 149 times in just 115 games that year. He struggled in 2022 in Cleveland and was designated for assignment in August. He was claimed by the Chicago Cubs, but finished that season with a career-high 157 strikeouts in 118 games, and only 14 home runs. 

If the former promising prospect can find his stroke in Japan this season, it’s not unrealistic to expect a possible return to the big leagues in the future.

Photo: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports