A DESIGNATED HITTER and a BENCH PLAYER for the 2023 KC Royals
Before spring training began, it seemed the Royals might be content to permit first baseman Nick Pratto work on his hitting woes in the big leagues, a move that would have required Vinnie Pasquantino to assume full-time designated hitter duties.
But then the club pulled a minor league contract and non-roster spring training invitation out of the blue and gave them to Franmil Reyes, who'd long punished Royal pitching (.275, seven homers and 25 RBIs in 38 career games) but whose .221/.273/.365 line last year suggested he might be in decline.
If his spring is any indication, however, Reyes' budding resurgence at the plate in Cactus League play—he's hitting .424 and is tied for the club lead in hits (14) and RBIs (12)—enables the Royals to do what they need to do for now, and that's send Pratto back to Omaha for more regular work and leave Pasquantino at first. With his numbers and power potential, expect Reyes to be the DH.
That leaves one more player to complete Kansas City's allotment of 13 non-pitchers. NRIs Matt Beaty and Matt Duffy are the leading candidates, and both are hitting well (Duffy .379, Beaty .367), but Beaty gives the Royals the luxury of a lefthanded bench bat.