Jeff Francoeur Rumors

Added To The 40-Man Roster: Sunday

The rosters for Opening Day have been officially submitted this afternoon. Several minor league signees have won jobs with their clubs and earned 40-man roster spots. Here are today’s additions:

  • The Orioles will purchase catcher Ryan Lavarnway‘s contract on Monday, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. The 25-man roster that the Orioles announced today included Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger at catcher, but not Lavarnway, who they had reassigned to the minors.
  • The Padres have announced that they’ve purchased the contract of catcher Wil Nieves. With Tim Federowicz out with a knee injury, Nieves will back up Derek Norris. As we noted when Nieves signed, his big-league salary will be $850K.
  • Ryan Madson has made the Royals‘ Opening Day roster, tweets MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Madson caps his comeback from multiple elbow injuries and his first appearance for Kansas City will be his first in the Majors since 2011.
  • The Nationals have announced on Twitter that second baseman Dan Uggla and outfielder Reed Johnson have made their Opening Day roster.
  • The Braves announced they have officially purchased the contracts of outfielders Eric Young, Jr. and Kelly Johnson, left-hander Eric Stults, and right-hander Cody Martin. The Braves cleared space on their 40-man roster by placing right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and outfielder Dian Toscano on the restricted list.
  • One name missing from the Braves‘ roster is Pedro Ciriaco, who was reported yesterday to have made the club. This is likely a procedural move, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter links), because the Braves placed Josh Outman on the 25-man roster instead of releasing him after the left-hander complained of shoulder tenderness. The move will also buy the Braves some time to look for an upgrade over Ciriaco, tweets Bowman.
  • The Phillies have announced outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Andres Blanco have made the team. Francoeur is just one of four outfielders on Philadelphia’s Opening Day roster, so he could see time as Grady Sizemore‘s platoon partner in right field. The Phillies are now at their 40-man limit.
  • The Marlins have selected the contract of utility player Don Kelly, tweets MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. Kelly earned his spot with solid Spring Training line of .270/.357/.324 in 42 plate appearances. Frisaro reports the 35-year-old will backup both the corner infield and outfield spots, as well as serving as the team’s emergency third catcher.

NL Notes: Francoeur, Russell, Ankiel

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.

Phillies Sign Francoeur, Seven Others To Minor-League Deals

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:

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.



Players Who Have Elected Minor League Free Agency

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…


Minor Moves: Francoeur, Sexton, Figgins, Krill

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.

Padres Designate Jeff Francoeur For Assignment

The Padres have designated outfielder Jeff Francoeur for assignment to clear room for top prospect Rymer Liriano‘s promotion, tweets Marty Caswell of 1090 radio in San Diego.

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.


Padres Notes: Torres, GM Search, Francoeur, Street

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.

Quick Hits: Lane, Francoeur, Rays, Astros

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.

Padres Sign Jeff Francoeur

The Padres have signed Jeff Francoeur to a minor-league deal, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. The Indians released Francoeur on Saturday. The outfielder is represented by CSE.

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.


Minor Moves: Kameron Loe, Jeff Francoeur

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.