Ben Francisco Rumors
The Blue Jays announced they've avoided arbitration with second baseman Kelly Johnson for $6.375MM and outfielder Ben Francisco for $1.5375MM. Casey Janssen and Brandon Morrow are the Jays' remaining arbitration eligible players.
Some links from the AL East...
- The Blue Jays have sent the Cardinals cash considerations rather than players to be named later to complete this summer's Colby Rasmus trade, reports MLB.com Gregor Chisholm (Twitter links). St. Louis was supposed to received three players to be named later in the deal.
- Chisholm also reports that the Blue Jays intend to go with five outfielders next year, so it's unclear what that means for Mark Teahen or the recently acquired Ben Francisco (Twitter links). There will be lots of competition in Spring Training.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Chisholm that his priority is to upgrade the bullpen and starting rotation, but there's no guarantee that he'll be able to do so this offseason (Twitter link).
- The Orioles non-tendered Luke Scott earlier today, but GM Dan Duquette told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that they'd like "to leave the door open" for him to return to Baltimore (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox have some interest in Kelly Shoppach, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). Shoppach started his career in Boston.
- Left-hander Rich Hill is a non-tender candidate, but he told WEEI.com's Alex Speier that he hopes the Red Sox will retain him for next year. Hill is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
- CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman says (on Twitter) that the Red Sox still have their eye on Ryan Madson since Daniel Bard will be preparing to work as a starter next year.
- Roger Mooney of The Tampa Tribute writes that the Rays bank on potential when handing out long-term contracts to young players, like the one just signed by left-hander Matt Moore.
Francisco, 30, hit .244/.340/.364 in 293 plate appearances for the Phillies this year. As a right-handed hitter he's gotten a disproportionate share of at-bats against lefties in his career, but he hasn't done markedly better against them. Francisco is set to earn an estimated $1.5MM through arbitration in 2012, and perhaps the Phillies would have cut him loose had they not found a trade partner. He'll be under team control for 2013 as well if the Blue Jays want him. With Francisco filling the role of Toronto's fourth outfielder, Rajai Davis may be expendable.
Gailey, 26, posted a 3.41 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, and 0.6 HR/9 in 74 relief innings across High and Double-A this year. A Philadelphia native, Gailey must be excited about the deal.
Chavez, 28, spent most of 2011 with the Royals' Triple-A affiliate. There he posted a 3.75 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 0.9 HR/9 in 57 2/3 innings. The Blue Jays claimed him off waivers from Kansas City in late October.
The Cardinals acquired Larry Walker from the Rockies seven years ago today. The waiver trade sent minor leaguer Jason Burch and two players to be named later to Colorado, one of whom turned out to be Chris Narveson.
Will we see any big name players dealt in waiver trades this month? I'm thinking yes. Until then, here are the links for Saturday...
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports that both the Braves and Phillies asked the Orioles about Adam Jones before the trade deadline, but were told he wasn't available. The two NL East clubs satisfied their outfield needs with Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence, respectively.
- The Marlins have not yet approached Mike Stanton about a long-term contract extension, reports MLB.com's Peter Gammons (on Twitter). Yesterday we learned that the team was having "preliminary internal talks" about a deal for the slugging outfielder.
- Roy Oswalt will be activated off the disabled list and start for the Phillies tomorrow, and Matt Gelb of The Philadephia inquirer thinks Ben Francisco could be in danger of losing his roster spot. John Mayberry Jr.'s emergence has made Francisco a bit more expendable, though he does have one minor league option remaining.
The Phillies shut out the Giants last night behind a complete game from Cliff Lee in a game that many consider a possible playoff preview. Here's the latest on the Phillies, who have the best record in baseball at 71-39...
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr.'s decision to add Lee to an already impressive rotation has "played out to perfection" so far, Jon Paul Morosi writes at FOX Sports.com.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News looks back at the season John Mayberry Jr. has had and points out that the outfielder will be out of minor league options next year. That means the Phillies will have to expose him to other teams if they decide to demote him to the minors in 2012.
- As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer explains, Ben Francisco could be optioned to the minors this weekend.
- We heard earlier this morning that the Phillies hope to re-sign Jimmy Rollins this offseason.
On this date two years ago, the Dodgers signed Ronald Belisario as a minor league free agent after he had spent the previous eight years in the Marlins' and Pirates' systems. Belisario made the team's Opening Day roster in 2009 and has pitched to a 3.36 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and a 58.5% ground ball rate in 126 innings since.
Here are Sunday's links...
- Paul Hagen of The Philadelphia Daily News has the breakdown of the incentives included in Ben Francisco's contract with the Phillies. The outfielder can earn another $100K in bonuses tied to plate appearances, plus more for various awards.
- Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News sees just one reason why the Rangers should consider signing Manny Ramirez. Texas is one of five teams that have recently expressed interest in Manny.
- Some estimates say the Rays should budget upwards of $15MM for the 2011 draft because of all the extra picks they have, according to Marc Topkin of The St. Petersburg Times. Once the Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour, and Chad Qualls signings become official, Tampa will own a dozen of the first 90 or so picks.
- The Athletics are optimistic about their offseason moves says Joe Stiglich of The Oakland Tribune, and rightfully so.
This offseason was Francisco's very first as an arbitration eligible player. In 2010, Francisco turned in a .268/.327/.441 slash line with six homers in 197 plate appearances. Philadelphia acquired the right-handed batter from Cleveland in the deal that brought them Cliff Lee in 2009. To keep up with the status of every arbitration eligible player, bookmark our handy Arb Tracker.
Paul Hagen of The Philadelphia Daily News has the breakdown of the incentives in Francisco's contract.
Jayson Werth is days away from free agency, so if the Phillies intend to re-sign their right fielder, they'll have to bid directly against other interested teams. There's a real chance Werth signs elsewhere this winter, so the Phillies are thinking ahead. Manager Charlie Manuel has acknowledged that he may pair Domonic Brown up with a more experienced player who can handle southpaws and play right field.
Brown, just 23, had no trouble hitting minor league pitching this year (.327/.391/.589 line) but he bats from the left side and the Phillies could ease him into the big leagues by limiting his exposure to left-handed pitching. Here are eight outfielders the Phillies may consider as platoon partners for Brown:
- Jeff Francoeur, 26 years old, non-tender candidate - Frenchy has his faults, but the 26-year-old can handle lefties. He has a .299/.343/.481 line against them in his career.
- Matt Diaz, 32 years old, non-tender candidate - Diaz has a .335/.373/.533 line against lefties in his career.
- Juan Rivera, 32 years old, trade candidate - The Angels will have to part with an outfielder if they sign Werth or Carl Crawford. Rivera, who spent most of the 2010 season in left field, has a career .288/.333/.499 line against lefties.
- Jose Guillen, 34 years old, free agent - He struggled against lefties this year, but boasts a .270/.327/.460 line against them in his career.
- Xavier Nady, 31 years old, free agent - Nady, who struggled through the 2010 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, has a .297/.367/.451 line against lefties in his career.
- Andruw Jones, 33, free agent - Jones would likely be able to find more playing time elsewhere, so he's not a natural fit in Philly, but his career (.261/.361/.501) and 2010 (.256/.373/.558) numbers against left-handers must have the Phillies salivating.
- Milton Bradley, 32, trade candidate - Again, Bradley seems like an unlikely target for the Phillies, but he has a .300/.382/.488 line against left-handers in his career and could be available.
- Willie Bloomquist, 32, free agent - He has a .272/.334/.366 line against lefties in his career - not much pop, but he's far more versatile than the players above. Bloomquist played all three outfield positions and all four infield positions this year, so Manuel could use him elsewhere if Brown wins the job outright.
- Austin Kearns, 30, free agent - Kearns has a career .261/.383/.416 line against lefties and may have trouble finding an everyday job.
- Ben Francisco, 29, on the Phillies - Francisco has a .267/.347/.460 career line against left-handers.
Diaz and Francoeur handle lefties well and can play right field, so they would be good fits for the Phils if they are indeed non-tendered. Rivera, Nady, Bloomquist and Kearns would also be legitimate options and none of the players listed figure to cost more than a few million on a one-year deal, so the Phillies are well-positioned to recover if Werth leaves and they consider alternatives to Francisco. Their biggest challenge will be helping Brown improve upon the .210/.257/.355 line he posted in 70 plate appearances this summer.
With their 2010 season officially in the books, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki examined the Phillies' decisions regarding both free agency and arbitration this offseason. Here are some highlights:
- The Phillies and Jayson Werth will both say they have interest in working something out, and while that's probably true, Zolecki agrees with the common belief that Werth will be playing elsewhere in 2011. The Phillies already have $145MM committed to 16 players in 2011, and Werth's probable $15MM+ salary will be too much to add on.
- J.C. Romero's option will probably be declined due to the left-hander's injury problems and control issues (7.1 BB/9 the past two seasons).
- Jose Contreras could be this season's Chan Ho Park. Both pitched well out of the Philadelphia bullpen, but in doing so significantly raised their stock. Contreras could be in line for more money than Philadelphia wants to offer. Zolecki does note that Contreras' best friend and fellow Cuban, Danys Baez, is under contract for 2011, so that may help sway Contreras.
- Chad Durbin is 50-50 on whether or not he'd take less money than he could get on the open market to stay with the Phils. As Zolecki points out, this could be Durbin's only chance to secure a decent multiyear deal.
- Jamie Moyer, Mike Sweeney, and Greg Dobbs are all unlikely to be brought back.
- Ben Francisco will almost certainly be tendered a contract, and could platoon with Domonic Brown. Kyle Kendrick is due a raise and could be non-tendered and then re-signed at a more affordable price.
6:05pm: After a little confusion, the deal is now official, according to a press release. The Phils add an ace and a right-handed bat, and the Indians receive four top rebuilding pieces. Ed Price at AOL Fanhouse says that Donald, Marson and Carrasco will all report to AAA Columbus and Knapp to A Lake County.
1:18pm: MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince says Lee and Francisco haven't been told anything official yet, but they've read the reports.
12:59pm: Rosenthal reports that the deal would not include any cash. He calls the trade, which isn't yet official, a "coup" for both sides.
12:42pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report that the sides have agreed to a deal that sends Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco to Philly for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson. The teams still have to examine medical records for the deal to go through.
12:38pm: MLB.com's Todd Zolecki hears that Ben Francisco would also come to Philly in the possible deal. He'd fit the team's need for a right-handed hitting outfielder.
12:29pm: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the two sides are "very close" to completing a deal.
12:03pm: Gordon Edes and Tim Brown of Yahoo report that the Phillies appear to be "on the verge" of acquiring Cliff Lee from the Indians for Carrasco, Knapp and at least two of Donald, Marson and Michael Taylor.
Ken Rosenthal says the clubs are in discussions for Lee "and possibly another player." Knapp, Carrasco, Donald, and Marson would be involved. He wonders if the Indians might send some cash to secure a better prospect package.
11:36am: Rob Maaddi of the AP (via the Miami Herald) hears that the Phils offered the Indians a package of players for Lee, but didn't include Kyle Drabek in the proposal.
11:09am: Rosenthal and Morosi report that the Phillies are discussing a trade for Cliff Lee and possibly another player that would send Knapp, Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson to Cleveland.
10:54am: ESPN.com's Buster Olney hears that the Phils may try to acquire George Sherrill If they can't trade for Halladay or Lee.
10:52am: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that Jason Knapp is the centerpiece of the Phillies' offer for Lee. The Phils, who are also involved in talks for Jarrod Washburn, would also deal other pieces to the Indians.
FOX also reports that the Dodgers were planning on making a "hard push" for Lee today.
10:34am: ESPN.com's Jayson Stark notes that three Indians scouts were in Lehigh Valley to watch the Phillies' Triple A team this morning. As we noted earlier, Carlos Carrasco was scratched from today's start and Stark says it was without explanation. Stark hears from a source close to the Indians who denies that the team is close to making a major move.
The Phillies and Indians have been involved in discussions, but haven't yet exchanged medical reports on players. One possible package would send Carrasco, a top position player, Jason Knapp and Trevor May to the Indians for Lee. The Phils tell other teams they believe they can deal for Lee without giving up Kyle Drabek or Dominic Brown.