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Jeff Francoeur Rumors
Jeff Francoeur believes his easygoing personality has helped keep his career going, Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes in a profile of the well-traveled outfielder. Last season, Francoeur’s teammates with Triple-A El Paso in the Padres’ system played an elaborate practical joke on Francoeur, then videotaped his reaction when he found out he’d been had. A Triple-A team ordinarily might not feel comfortable playing a trick on an accomplished big-league veteran, but Francoeur’s teammates knew he would take it well. Francoeur hit .289/.320/.450 in 487 plate appearances in El Paso and played ten games with the Padres. Now he’s in camp with the Phillies, trying to make it back to the big leagues with the seventh team of his career. Here are more notes from the National League.
- Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was surprised by the blockbuster Jeff Samardzija trade that sent him from Oakland to Chicago last summer, MLB.com’s Jane Lee writes. “I was a little shocked, and more confused than anything,” says Russell, who adds that he soon began to see a positive side of the trade. “The Cubs wanted me, and they got me. I look at it as a new opportunity.” Lee notes that Russell probably would have had a more straightforward path to the big leagues if he were still with the Athletics. He’s talented enough, though, that that might not matter — if he continues hitting this season, the Cubs will surely find a place for him.
- Former big-league pitcher and outfielder Rick Ankiel is trying to help Nationals players as the teams new life skills coordinator, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. “I’m really just a resource for these guys or somebody to lean on for whatever they may need — whether it’s something off the field or something on the field,” Ankiel says. “I’ve been through it. I’ve got a lot of tools and mechanisms to pass down to these guys.” Ankiel, who signed out of high school and has no college experience, emphasizes that he’s not a doctor, just a former player who’s had an unusual and varied big-league life. The 35-year-old, of course, flamed out as a pitcher after finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2000 before following a long road back through the minors and then re-emerging as a hitter in 2007. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2013.
The Phillies have announced the signings of eight players to minor league deals with spring training invites. The list includes multiple players who could presumably play a role on the big league team if it deals from its current roster.
The list of announced players is as follows:
- Infielder Andres Blanco
- Outfielder Brian Bogusevic
- Infielder/outfielder Russ Canzler
- Infielder/outfielder Chase d’Arnaud
- Outfielder Jeff Francoeur
- Catcher John Hester
- Outfielder Darin Mastroianni
- Outfielder Xavier Paul
Every player on that list has MLB experience, and many have fairly extensive time in the bigs. Francoeur, of course, is a former top prospect and long-time starter who spent time both playing in the outfield and pitching last year in the Padres organization. He is one of several signees who could provide options if the Phillies were to move any of their current outfielders. The infield-capable members of this list may create some flexibility as well.
At various times, all of Marlon Byrd, Ben Revere, and Domonic Brown have found their names as rumored trade candidates. Though shortstop Jimmy Rollins and, to a lesser extent, second baseman Chase Utley have both been named as potential trade chips as well, those players enjoy full no-trade protection and appear less likely to be dealt.
A total of 43 players have elected to become minor league free agents, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy in his latest round-up of minor league transactions. MLBTR has already reported on some of these moves over the last few days, and here is the rest of the list, with players grouped by their most recent team…
- Angels: RHP David Carpenter, RHP Dane De La Rosa, C John Hester
- Braves: RHP Pedro Beato
- Cubs: C Eli Whiteside
- Diamondbacks: 3B Andy Marte
- Giants: 2B Brandon Hicks
- Indians: MI Elliot Johnson
- Marlins: OF Brian Bogusevic
- Mets: LHP John Lannan, SS Omar Quintanilla, C Taylor Teagarden
- Orioles: RHP Josh Stinson
- Padres: OF Jeff Francoeur, 3B Chris Nelson
- Phillies: SS Reid Brignac, LHP Jeremy Horst, RHP Jeff Manship
- Pirates: SS Michael Martinez, RHP Vin Mazzaro, 1B Chris McGuiness
- Rangers: 1B/OF Mike Carp, LHP Ryan Feierabend, 2B Josh Wilson
- Red Sox: OF Corey Brown, 2B Ryan Roberts
- Royals: INF Pedro Ciriaco, RHP Blake Wood
- Tigers: RHP Kevin Whelan
- Yankees: LHP Josh Outman
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Andy Marte | Blake Wood | Brian Bogusevic | Chris McGuiness | Chris Nelson | Corey Brown | Dane De La Rosa | Eli Whiteside | Elliot Johnson | Jeff Francoeur | Jeff Manship | Jeremy Horst | John Lannan | Josh Outman | Josh Stinson | Michael Martinez | Omar Quintanilla | Pedro Beato | Pedro Ciriaco | Ryan Roberts | Taylor Teagarden | Transactions | Vin Mazzaro
Here are the minor moves of the day …
- The Padres tweet that Jeff Francoeur has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A El Paso. Frenchy was designated for assignment earlier this week after struggling with the big league club, but the former NL Rookie of the Year candidate has performed quite well at the Triple-A level this season.
- Former Padres farmhand Tim Sexton has inked a minor league deal with the Athletics, according to Midland RockHounds assistant GM of media relations Greg Bergman (h/t: Melissa Lockard of OaklandClubhouse.com). Sexton, a 27-year-old right-hander, has a 5.90 ERA in 58 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season, and he has a lifetime 6.68 ERA at the Triple-A level. He’s been much better at Double-A, however, with a 4.40 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 188 1/3 innings at that level.
- The Dodgers have requested unconditional released waivers on utilityman Chone Figgins, the club announced. The veteran was designated for assignment last Wednesday. He has reached base at an impressive .373 clip on the year, but has slugged only .267 over his 76 plate appearances.
- The Giants have released outfielder Brett Krill, according to the PCL transactions page. Krill, 25, struggled at all levels this year, including his first attempt at Triple-A. His aggregate triple-slash on the season is .191/.260/.253 over 197 plate appearances. Krill has seen his offensive production decline steadily as he has moved up in the system over the last four years.
The 30-year-old Francoeur recently joined the Friars’ big league club after spending much of the season with Triple-A El Paso, but he collected just a pair of hits and three walks in 28 trips to the plate. Frenchy hasn’t produced in the Majors since a surprising 20-20 campaign for the Royals back in 2011 — an effort that was impressive enough to net him a two-year. $13.5MM deal to remain in Kansas City.
That contract proved to be a misstep for Kansas City GM Dayton Moore, however, as Francoeur has batted just .226/.269/.346 since that time and was designated for assignment midway through the contract’s second season. The former top prospect and Rookie of the Year candidate did enjoy a nice season with El Paso this year, as he batted a healthy .294/.325/.465 with 15 homers in 416 plate appearances.
Liriano, 23, is batting a robust .291/.362/.473 with 14 homers and 20 steals between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He ranked sixth on MLB.com’s midseason list of the Top 20 Padres prospects. MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo noted that Liriano has plenty of raw power and above-average speed, but he’ll need to refine his approach at the plate because of his propensity to swing and miss. His bat profiles well at any outfield position, according to the MLB.com duo.
The Padres have signed fourth-round selection Nick Torres, reports MLB.com’s Corey Brock (on Twitter). Torres, whose slot was valued at $445K, received a $406.7K bonus and is already DHing for the team’s Arizona Rookie League affiliate tonight. Torres ranked as the No. 117 prospect in the draft per BA, and MLB.com ranked him 109th. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com note that Torres was the heart of a strong Cal Poly team and profiles as a corner outfielder that can generate consistently hard contact and has plenty of raw power to tap into.
Here’s more on the Padres…
- The Padres wanted to interview Indians assistant GM Mike Chernoff for their vacant GM slot, but he turned down the opportunity to interview and will remain in Cleveland, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter). David Forst of the A’s and Jason McLeod of the Cubs took the same route, Heyman notes.
- Jeff Francoeur, currently enjoying a strong season for the Friars’ Triple-A affiliate, has a rolling opt-out in his contract and could soon leave for a Major League opportunity, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Francoeur’s contract allows him to leave should a team offer him a big league deal, and one source suggested to Cotillo that the Blue Jays have have interest. Frenchy is slashing a healthy .297/.325/.485 with 15 big flies this season, though those numbers have come in the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
- ESPN’s Jim Bowden feels that the Orioles, Tigers, Angels and Reds are good fits for Huston Street and offers his thoughts on what each club would have to surrender in order to pry the potential All-Star away from San Diego (ESPN Insider subscription required). Street, who has a $7MM club option for the 2015 season, has posted a stunning 0.90 ERA with a 32-to-7 K/BB ratio in 30 innings this year.
- The Padres’ decision to extend Seth Smith was simply weird, writes Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron. While Smith can more than justify the relatively small investment, his value likely won’t ever be higher, and the Padres probably aren’t going to win during the life of this contract. San Diego hasn’t been able to decide whether it’s rebuilding or pushing for contention in years, Cameron writes, and this move further exemplifies that indecision despite the fact that it came after the team dismissed its GM.
Jason Lane is a former outfielder who’s now a pitcher, and Jeff Francoeur is an outfielder who occasionally pitches. Both of them are with the Padres‘ Triple-A affiliate in El Paso, trying to get back to the Majors, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reports. Lane, the former Astros outfielder, converted to pitching two years ago and is still working on it as a 37-year-old, posting a 4.36 ERA with 3.9 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 64 innings so far this season. He also pinch-hits. Francoeur, who played for the Royals and Giants last season, is hitting .278/.309/.450 for the Chihuahuas and occasionally taking his turn as a reliever, appearing in six games on the mound so far this season. Kepner notes that Francoeur is “pitching for fun,” so presumably he won’t be looking for a similar role in the Majors. Also, he still has hope as an offensive player. “If I keep hitting like this, I’ve got a chance to go to the Futures Game!” he says. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- At 23-34, the Rays‘ season hasn’t gone as planned, but owner Stuart Sternberg isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, Bill Chastain of MLB.com writes. Sternberg certainly isn’t ready to commit to selling at the trade deadline — not that there’s much urgency on that front at this point. “[I]f you think you’re in striking distance, and more importantly, if you have confidence in the guys here that they’ve got a good stretch of baseball in them, in a week or two, you look back and you could be in a different position,” he says.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is pleased with the results of a recent trip to Japan with pro scouting coordinator Kevin Goldstein, writes MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Luhnow and Goldstein met with Japanese teams and interviewed candidates for a scouting position in Japan. “[W]e really felt like this is an important first step for us in re-engaging our activity in Japan and hopefully, eventually signing some good Japanese players,” says Luhnow, who says one motivation for the trip was that the Yankees had a scout watching all of Masahiro Tanaka‘s starts in Tanaka’s last two years in Japan.
Francoeur, 30, hit .204/.238/.298 in 256 plate appearances with the Royals and Giants in 2013. He has hit .263/.306/.419 in his nine-year big-league career, but has struggled both offensively and defensively in each of the past two seasons.
Here are today's minor moves from around the league.
- Pitcher Kameron Loe has opted out of his minor-league deal with the Giants, and he's now a free agent, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. Loe pitched for the Mariners, Cubs and Braves in 2013, accumulating 20 innings with a 5.85 ERA, 5.4 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
- The Indians have released outfielder Jeff Francoeur, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets. They had signed him to a minor-league deal in January. Francoeur, 30, collected 256 plate appearances with the Royals and Giants in 2013, hitting .204/.238/.298. Francoeur has also played with the Braves, Mets and Rangers in his nine-year big-league career.
WEDNESDAY, 8:46pm: Francoeur gets $1MM if he makes the team with a chance to make $500K more based on plate appearances, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
MONDAY, 6:20pm: The Indians have signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a minor league deal, the team announced in a press release. Francoeur will receive an invitation to the Tribe's Major League Spring Training camp. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported earlier today that the two sides were close to an agreement. Francoeur, who turns 30 on Wednesday, is represented by CSE.
Francoeur hit a combined .204/.238/.298 in 256 PA with the Royals and Giants last season, continuing a two-year slide in production for the veteran outfielder. The right-handed hitting Francoeur has had trouble consistently reaching base and hitting right-handed pitching throughout his career, but he has struggled against both righties and lefties over the last two seasons. If Francoeur could at least regain his form against southpaws, he could provide bench balance to a Cleveland outfield that includes left-handed bats such as Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley and David Murphy.