Jeff Francoeur Rumors

AL Central Notes: Young, Francoeur, Thome, Indians

Fresh off a weekend sweep of the Indians, the Tigers send Justin Verlander to the mound against the streaking Rays tonight. Here are links from the AL Central as Verlander looks to build on the Tigers' division lead and boost his Cy Young candidacy… 

  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire admitted that Minnesota was likely going to non-tender outfielder Delmon Young after the season, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com (on Twitter). Instead, the Twins traded him to the Tigers.
  • In a detailed piece, Rany Jazayerli explains that he doesn't like the Jeff Francoeur extension for the Royals, even though there's a good chance it'll work out and it probably won't hurt the Royals terribly. 
  • Twins slugger Jim Thome has wanted to return to the Indians ever since he left Cleveland in 2002, according to Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com (on Twitter). Thome hit waivers earlier today. 
  • MLB executives tell ESPN.com's Buster Olney that if the Twins gave a valued player like Thome away for nothing, it would draw major scrutiny (Twitter links). For example, there would be loud protests if the Twins released Thome so that he could sign with the Phillies or another team of his choice. 
  • Indians GM Chris Antonetti and manager Manny Acta both acknowledged to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that their high profile summer acquisition, Ubaldo Jimenez, needs to make mechanical adjustments and modify his pitch sequencing (Twitter link).

Royals Notes: Cabrera, Francoeur, Starling

The Royals signed Jeff Francoeur to a two-year, $13.5MM extension today and the deal has inspired lots of chatter. Here are the latest Royals-related links…

  • Royals GM Dayton Moore sidestepped a question about Melky Cabrera's future in Kansas City, according to MLB.com's Adam Holt. "That's a fair question, it's a question that should be asked," Moore said. "But right now, I'd just as soon not go down that road right now." The Royals control Cabrera's rights through arbitration in 2012 and don't appear to be nearing an extension with him.
  • C. Trent Rosecrans of CBSSports.com says $13.5MM for two years of Francoeur is "probably a bit of an overpayment, but it's hardly cripling" for the Royals who benefit from the outfielder's production.
  • FanGraphs' Eno Sarris agrees, writing that the extension will not cripple the Royals or suppress any prospects on the brink ot the Major Leagues.
  • Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says we should expect the Royals to add a veteran starting pitcher this offseason (Twitter link).
  • The Royals say they started following Bubba Starling's athletic pursuits three years ago, according to the Kansas City Star, which re-publishes a Terez A. Paylor story from 2008 detailing the achievements of the eventual Royals draft pick. Kansas City selected the high schooler fourth overall in June and signed him to a $7.5MM bonus Monday.

Royals Sign Francoeur To Two-Year Extension

12:36pm: The two-year deal is worth $13.5MM, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City (via Twitter).

10:18am: The Royals have signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a two-year extension, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

The Royals and Francoeur had a $4MM mutual option for 2012, so this deal buys that out and locks up Francoeur through the 2013 season. The 27-year-old right fielder, a one-time blue-chip prospect, signed with Kansas City in December after he was traded twice in less than two years, going from the Braves to the Mets to the Rangers.

Francoeur was mentioned prominently in trade rumors prior to last month's deadline, but he remained in Kansas City, where he is enjoying a modest renaissance from his nadir in New York. A career .269/.312/.430 hitter, Frenchy has been a bit better than that in 2011, hitting .278/.328/.465. 

Francoeur and Royals GM Dayton Moore have always had a strong relationship, going back to their time together in the Braves organization, according to Knobler (Twitter link). Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports first reported last month that a possible extension was in the works.



Quiet Deadline Possible For Royals

Though Jeff Francis, Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies are drawing interest from several clubs, the Royals may hold onto all three and continue using a six-man rotation, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. The Royals continue to say they’re happy to hold onto the starters, who hit free agency after the season.

“Nothing has changed with our situation,” GM Dayton Moore told Dutton. “The guys we have, I think, are more valuable to us than the potential [return].”

Chen projects as a Type B free agent under our most recent projections, so the Royals could obtain a supplementary draft pick if the left-hander turns down an offer of arbitration to sign elsewhere. Francis and Davies, however, don’t currently project as ranked free agents, so the Royals can’t expect picks for them.

Kansas City appears to be seeking a number three starter (or close to it) for Melky Cabrera or Jeff Francoeur. However, trades involving the two outfielders don’t appear to be brewing at the moment.


Passan On Upton, Nationals, Melky, Francoeur

The latest on the trade market from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan

  • A number of MLB officials tell Passan that they consider the Nationals the favorites for B.J. Upton. However, a Rays official says there’s no favorite at this point (click here for the latest on Upton).
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has told teams that pitching prospect Brad Peacock is not available.
  • Nationals executives and scouts have told others that Ian Desmond is available (despite reports that that Washington will hold onto its shortstop).
  • The Royals are leaning toward keeping Melky Cabrera in 2012, according to Passan. Cabrera, who is having an excellent season and remains under team control next year, might not fetch enough in a trade for GM Dayton Moore to pull the trigger.
  • The Royals are hoping to work out some kind of contract for next year with Jeff Francoeur. The sides have a 2012 mutual option for $4MM, but the Royals would likely have to offer more to lock Francoeur up for next season. They get the impression that the 27-year-old is interested in staying in Kansas City.

Passan On Upton, Nationals, Melky, Francoeur

The latest on the trade market from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan

  • A number of MLB officials tell Passan that they consider the Nationals the favorites for B.J. Upton. However, a Rays official says there’s no favorite at this point (click here for the latest on Upton).
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has told teams that pitching prospect Brad Peacock is not available.
  • Nationals executives and scouts have told others that Ian Desmond is available (despite reports that that Washington will hold onto its shortstop).
  • The Royals are leaning toward keeping Melky Cabrera in 2012, according to Passan. Cabrera, who is having an excellent season and remains under team control next year, might not fetch enough in a trade for GM Dayton Moore to pull the trigger.
  • The Royals are hoping to work out some kind of contract for next year with Jeff Francoeur. The sides have a 2012 mutual option for $4MM, but the Royals would likely have to offer more to lock Francoeur up for next season. They get the impression that the 27-year-old is interested in staying in Kansas City.

Red Sox Notes: Drew, Reddick, Francoeur

The Red Sox, who are already 25 games above .500, open a series against the Royals tonight. Here's the latest from Boston as Theo Epstein & Co. consider possible moves…

  • The Red Sox have tons of feelers out and scouts are watching their Double-A Portland club intently, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • J.D. Drew hit the disabled list with a left shoulder impingement today, but Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald hears that the injury won't make Red Sox more aggressive in talks for outfield help. Josh Reddick's emergence means the Red Sox have an in-house alternative to Drew.
  • Jeff Francoeur told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that it would be "neat" to be traded to Boston, though he's happy in Kansas City. "My dad took a train with my grandpa for tons of games to Fenway," Francoeur said. "I was in high school and had a Boston Red Sox credit card." 

Quick Hits: Nationals, Upton, Webb, Inge, Mariners

With nine days remaining before the trade deadline, the biggest trade chips in baseball are arguably Carlos Beltran (latest rumors) and Hunter Pence (latest rumors). Here are some other relevant links from around MLB…

  • The Nationals are in greater need of outfield depth than infield help or a catcher, a baseball source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
  • The Rays pulled B.J. Upton and prospect Desmond Jennings from their respective games, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter).  However, Upton says that he has not been traded, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
  • Rangers pitcher Brandon Webb will undergo surgery on his right shoulder with the intent to pitch again in 2012, according to his agent Jonathan Maurer.  This will not be a full surgery of the rotator cuff but it will prevent him from throwing for four months.
  • The Tigers would need to eat some salary to move Brandon Inge but teams still believe that the veteran has value, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • The Reds scouted Jason Vargas and Doug Fister when the Mariners visited Toronto this week, a source told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
  • Indians team president Mark Shapiro said that he expects the club will make a move in the next ten days, tweets Nick Camino of WTAM 1100.
  • Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s looking for a bat to insert at the top of the order or in the middle of the lineup. However, the Reds are also open to acquiring pitching, either for the rotation or the bullpen. The Reds have lots of depth, but Jocketty says he “hates” trading prospects.
  • Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago hears that Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick is open to a role with the Cubs. Gillick said last week that he's open to taking on a full-time role as a team president at some point in the future.
  • MLB talent evaluators tell Alex Speier of WEEI.com that the Red Sox have a number of players whose prospect status is starting to rise and who could become elite prospects within a year. Though the Adrian Gonzalez deal made a major dent in Boston’s farm system, Speier’s sources say the Red Sox still have secondary prospects who could be valuable trade bait this summer. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks and right-hander Anthony Ranaudo are among the organization’s top prospects.
  • Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports confirms that the Red Sox have had exploratory conversations with the Royals about Jeff Francoeur.

Stark On Shields, Melky, Soria, Marlins

Astros GM Ed Wade has been determining the market for his players, including Hunter Pence, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. Incoming owner Jim Crane urged Wade to do so in case appealing offers emerge. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors: 

  • Given Wade’s uncertain future in Houston, at least one executive suggests the GM needs to make a "job-saving deal" if he trades Pence.
  • The Rays are more likely to trade B.J. Upton than James Shields, though they realize Shields’ value has never been higher (the right-hander won't be going to the Bronx). 
  • The Phillies remain in contact with the Royals about Melky Cabrera, but the Royals have told teams they’re more likely to deal Jeff Francoeur. Kansas City is asking for a number three starter who’s nearly Major League ready in return for Cabrera.
  • Clubs that have inquired on Vance Worley have heard that he’s off of the market.
  • The Braves have shown some interest in Heath Bell, whose most aggressive suitors have been the Rangers, Cardinals, Phillies and Angels. The Padres are telling teams that they’ll need to “clearly surpass” the value of two compensatory draft picks in any deal for Bell, though they’re flexible in terms of the type of player they’d accept in return.
  • The Padres continue to field calls on Mike Adams, who will be tougher to obtain than Bell.
  • The Yankees, Phillies and Diamondbacks appear to have checked in on Joakim Soria.
  • The Red Sox are looking at everything, but aren’t approaching the deadline with much urgency, one AL executive told Stark.
  • Rival teams expect that the Dodgers will trade Jamey Carroll and there are indications that Rafael Furcal is drawing interest as well.
  • The Marlins, who hope to build momentum before opening their new stadium in 2012, are in a “holding pattern,” Stark reports. They’ve shown interest in third basemen.
  • Rival teams report that the Phillies say they won’t move Domonic Brown or top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart. Jonathan Singleton is available in the right deal, but the Phillies don’t expect to trade him for a rental player.
  • Stark reminds us that commissioner Bud Selig ruled out contraction at the All-Star Game.

Red Sox Not Pursuing Anyone Aggressively Right Now

The Red Sox are "not pursuing anyone aggressively right now," a source familiar with the team's thinking told WEEI's Alex Speier.  Instead, the team is currently trying to determine which internal solutions will work.  We've heard the Red Sox named as one of the most aggressive suitors for Carlos Beltran, but that may not be the case.

The Sox are still taking their normal approach of "inquiring about anyone who may make an appreciable difference to the team," in the words of the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.  Cafardo says the Red Sox have inquired on Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Baker, Michael Cuddyer, Ty Wigginton, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson, Ryan Spilborghs, Mike Adams, and others.  The team needs include starting pitching, a reliever, an outfielder, and a shortstop, but the Red Sox may prefer internal options in many cases.