Jeff Francoeur Rumors
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.
Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz continues to draw heavy interest from Major League teams, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Some teams like Diaz, who can't sign until Feb. 19 due to falsifying his age last offseason, as a second baseman. Passan reports that Braves, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Blue Jays and Cardinals as teams who have been heavily represented at Diaz's most recent showcases in Mexico (Twitter links). Some more links from around the league...
- Jeff Francoeur, who recently underwent LASIK surgery, is seeking a job as a backup outfielder, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Frenchy will also abandon his use of a 35-ounce bat in 2013 -- a weight only utilized by Orioles slugger Chris Davis.
- Felix Pie is nearing an agreement with Korea's Hanwah Eagles, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Pie hasn't seen much big-league action in the last two years, recording just 31 plate appearances in 27 games with the Pirates in 2013.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Royals' offer to Carlos Beltran was slightly less than the Yankees' three-year, $45MM offer but would technically have paid Beltran more due to the tax differences between Missouri and New York.
- The Dodgers have not been involved in negotiations with Omar Infante, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- As they search for starting pitching help, the Orioles will be open to multiyear contracts rather than just one-year deals, GM Dan Duquette confirmed today (Twitter link via Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com).
- The Twins pursued a catcher before the market dried up, but had no interest in going to three years for any of the free agents they targeted, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota "made that clear from the start," according to Berardino.
- Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along word, in a translated tweet, that Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda has expressed interest in playing in MLB, perhaps as soon as 2015.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
SATURDAY: The Giants have released Francoeur, according to the MLB.com transactions page. (Thanks to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com for the heads up.)
TUESDAY: The Giants have designated outfielder Jeff Francoeur for assignment, the team announced via Twitter (hat tip to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle). The move (along with a DL trip for Chad Gaudin) will clear 25-man roster space to allow San Francisco to recall pitchers Mike Kickham and Jean Machi. It also opens a 40-man spot, Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com notes on Twitter.
Francoeur was inked to a minor league deal by the Giants in July after being released by the Royals. Perhaps hoping for another mid-career resurgence, club and player were left disappointed. During his time in San Francisco, Francoeur posted an anemic .194/.206/.226 line, with no home runs, over 63 plate appearances. The CSE client is still just 29 years old, but has failed to hit at a league-average rate (let alone regain his early-career form) since his 2011 renaissance year in Kansas City.
You can keep an eye on players who have been designated using MLBTR's new DFA Tracker. Francoeur joins Wade LeBlanc of the Astros and Sean O'Sullivan of the Padres among players currently in DFA limbo.
Major League Baseball has ruled that Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz is ineligible to sign until February 2014, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Diaz had claimed to be born in January 1990, which would make him 23 and would mean MLB teams wouldn't be restricted by their international bonus pools in their attempts to sign him. Earlier media reports indicate that he is actually 22. A 22-year-old Cuban player would still have to sign under the bonus pool system. Ten teams were reported to have interest in Diaz. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- The White Sox's Jake Peavy says he wanted to ask the team if he could pitch for the big league club on Sunday, though he would have been denied, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. Peavy, who's been sidelined with a rib injury, will join the Sox's Double-A club on Wednesday if he's still feeling good at that time, Gonzales says. If he's healthy, Peavy could be a trade chip at the July 31 deadline.
- Bartolo Colon is defying the odds yet again this season with the Athletics, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes. Colon currently has a 2.69 ERA with 4.9 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 in 120 1/3 innings despite his age (40) and the fact that he was suspended last season for testing positive for testosterone. Common sense suggested that, without the use of PEDs, Colon couldn't keep pitching well, but the A's took a chance on Colon, signing him for $3MM plus bonuses. "Our organization thought he would be very similar based on what they saw in winter ball," says A's manager Bob Melvin. "He was throwing with the same velocity he does right now, the same movement. It was an easy sign for us and we did it very quickly, based on what everybody thought he would be like, and certainly he’s been that and more."
- The Giants' signing of Jeff Francoeur is a "lightning-in-a-bottle play," Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com writes. Baggarly compares the acquisition to the Giants' May 2010 signing of Pat Burrell, who had been cast off by the Rays. Baggarly also notes that Francoeur and Kensuke Tanaka, who is making his big-league debut while starting in left field Tuesday night, will mean less playing time for Andres Torres.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Francoeur hit .208/.249/.322 in 193 plate appearances this month, following a down 2012 with an even worse campaign. Amid a resurgent 2011 season, the Royals signed Francoeur to a two-year, $13.5MM extension. They'll be on the hook for the $3.2MM or so remaining on his contract, less the pro-rated league minimum if Francoeur returns to the Majors. There is the expectation that he will join the big league team after getting some ABs and work in in left field, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Francoeur is represented by CSE.
A right-handed hitter, Francoeur hasn't done much damage against lefties since that 2011 season. The Giants still aren't risking much by giving him a shot to contribute in left field; Rosenthal says they figure to use him in a platoon with Andres Torres, with Gregor Blanco manning center field in the absence of the injured Angel Pagan.
Baseball America released its updated rankings of the sport's top 50 prospects, headlined by Twins outfielder Byron Buxton. For Baseball America subscribers, BA's J.J. Cooper also has lists of 10 prospects who missed the top 50 but are still having breakthrough seasons, preseason top-100 prospects who missed the new list, how the thirty preseason top-100 prospects who have already made the Major Leagues are faring and also a look at five organizations who have made strides and five who have struggled.
Here are some items from around the baseball world...
- The Red Sox still have interest in Michael Young, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets, but "serious names have not been discussed" between the Sox and Phillies in trade negotiations.
- The Cubs have reportedly explored extending Matt Garza's contract but CSN Chicago's David Kaplan doesn't believe it and neither does an American League executive. "Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer] know that they have a great asset. They will not cave on what they want in return," said the AL exec. "They will play this thing out until they get what they want. He's too valuable to not trade. When you are in a rebuild you need to move assets to fuel the plan. Garza should help to do that. I'd be stunned if he is a Cub Aug. 1." (Twitter links here)
- Reds general manager Walt Jocketty confirmed that he had spoken to Jeff Francoeur's agents at CSE, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (via Twitter). "He's talking to other clubs as well. [I'm] not sure it's a fit," Jocketty said. Francoeur is known to have drawn interest from at least two other teams since he was released by the Royals. Francoeur could be a right-handed hitting stopgap for Cincinnati until Ryan Ludwick returns from the DL in August.
- Also from Fay, he thinks the strong recent performance of the Reds' bullpen should shift the team's trade deadline focus to hitting instead of relief pitching. Fay opines that the Reds should look to acquire Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, who I'd guess would be too expensive for the Reds' liking (owed roughly $9.35MM through 2014) and is on the DL until August following knee surgery.
- The Mariners have a number of trade chips on the roster but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times feels the team's toughest decisions will concern Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales. On paper the 41-year-old Ibanez is an obvious candidate to be dealt, though Ibanez's popularity on and off the field in Seattle will make the M's consult him before any possible deal. I examined the case for Morales as a trade candidate back in April.
- Every Major League transaction is a complicated process, and they get even more complex when they have to be made quickly. MLB.com's Corey Brock outlines how the Padres had to move fast to replace the injured Yasmani Grandal, which led to a shakeup of catchers at all levels of the organization and a lot of roster juggling that eventually led to Rene Rivera being called up from Triple-A Tucson to Washington for the next day's game.
Outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who was recently released by the Royals, has interest from three teams, including the Reds, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The exact details of any negotiations are unclear, but a new contract for Francoeur, who was hitting .208/.249/.322 in 2013 after having struggled in 2012, would almost certainly be a minor-league deal. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- Roy Oswalt of the Rockies left his start on Sunday with a strained hamstring, leaving Colorado looking for pitching, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets. Renck writes that it will be a seller's market for arms, however, making acquiring starting pitching difficult. The Rockies were reported to be interested in Ricky Nolasco before the Marlins dealt him to the Dodgers. While the Rockies are still technically in the playoff race, though, they're five games below .500 and in third place, so it's fair to wonder whether they'll be as motivated to pay heavily for shorter-term upgrades as other teams might be.
- The Giants are unlikely to make dramatic changes despite their recent struggles, Mike Bauman of MLB.com writes. After winning two of the last three World Series, the Giants are currently 40-47. "These are our guys, though," says manager Bruce Bochy. "These guys have done a lot of good things here. You know [the slump] feels like it's been forever, but it's been maybe three weeks. It's getting long, but still, they are our guys and we're going to stay behind them." Bauman notes that Chad Gaudin recently returned to the Giants' rotation and that reliever Santiago Casilla and starter Ryan Vogelsong could soon return from injury as well.
FRIDAY: The Royals have announced, via press release, that they have requested unconditional release waivers on Francoeur.
SUNDAY: The Royals have designated outfielder Jeff Francoeur for assignment, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. The club has recalled second baseman Johnny Giavotella to take Francoeur's roster spot and take over as the regular at the keystone (according to another Dutton tweet).
The oft-criticized Francoeur, 29, has largely been a disappointment since a promising start to his career with the Braves. Francoeur originally signed with Kansas City before the 2011 season, signing a one-year, $2.5MM deal. He delivered a solid campaign that year, slashing .285/.329/.476 and contributing 20 home runs and 22 stolen bases.
Francoeur's work in 2011 led to the Royals giving him a two-year, $13.5MM extension in August of that year. Needless to say, that deal has not panned out for K.C. While Francoeur hit 16 long balls last year, he slashed just .235/.287/.378 as the team's regular right fielder. After the team traded away highly regarded outfield prospect Wil Myers in the offseason, Francoeur remained entrenched in right and continued to struggle this season. His legendary arm was not enough to make up for a .209/.250/.324 line over 192 plate appearances this season. Over the last two seasons, Fangraphs credits Francoeur with costing the Royals 2.2 wins against a replacement level player. The Royals will remain on the hook for the remainder of the $6.75MM they owe Francoeur for this season, assuming they cannot find a taker for his contract.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star recently took the time to answer a vast array of Twitter questions from his followers and write them up in a Q&A. Here are some highlights from the piece...
- No matter how well Danny Duffy pitches in Triple-A as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, the team won't part with Ervin Santana if they're in contention. Should they fall out of the race, the Royals would likely make Santana available if they received an offer they deemed more valuable than a compensatory draft pick, suggesting that the Royals are planning on making Santana a qualifying offer this offseason.
- Dutton doesn't get any sense from the Royals organization that general manager Dayton Moore is on a short lease, though he concedes that if the team is struggling at this time next year, that could change.
- Dutton expects the recently DFA'ed Jeff Francoeur to clear waivers and sign with another team as opposed to a trade or Frenchy accepting a minor league assignment.
- It's still not clear if the Royals will be buyers at the deadline, though Dutton expects them to look hard at additions. However, he calls the odds of them making a big move "slim."
- Lefty Noel Arguelles could lose his 40-man roster spot this offseason if the Royals are in need of a roster spot. Kansas City gave the Cuban lefty a five-year, $7MM deal in 2009, but he has produced just a 5.24 ERA in 283 2/3 minor league innings to date. The 23-year-old has more walks than strikeouts in 179 2/3 career innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
The legend of Yasiel Puig added another chapter today as the Cuban phenom went 4-for-5, stole two bases and finished a homer shy of a cycle for the Dodgers in their 6-1 win over the Phillies. Puig collected 44 hits in June, the second-highest hit total in a calendar month for any rookie in MLB history --- the only rookie with more hits in a calendar month was a player you might've heard of by the name of Joe DiMaggio. Though the Dodgers are still just 38-43 on the season and in last place in the NL West, they're only four games behind the first place Diamondbacks. Here's the latest from this tightly-packed division...
- The Rockies have already been connected to a few notable pitchers in trade rumors and now Cubs right-hander Scott Feldman can be added to the list, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. That said, the Rockies don't want to give up prospects for "a rental starter who is not going to re-sign" and Feldman is a free agent this winter. MLBTR's Steve Adams noted that Feldman's solid ground-ball rate (50.7%) would make him a good fit at Coors Field as part of a Trade Candidate piece earlier this month.
- The difficulties of pitching at Coors Field make the Rockies "hypersensitive" about trading for pitching, Renck writes.
- If Drew Pomeranz and Roy Oswalt pitch well as starters, Renck reports that the Rockies will cool their search for starters and instead focus on the bullpen. The team is prepared to add payroll but it could resemble their 2009 trades for Rafael Betancourt and Joe Beimel that helped Colorado win the NL Wild Card.
- The mention of Jeff Francoeur's name to Giants executives has drawn "a lot of scrunched faces and worries about his outfield play", Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Francoeur was designated for assignment by the Royals on Saturday and could fit the Giants' rumored desire for a right-handed outfield bat.
- In NL West news from earlier today, the Giants and Diamondbacks are two of the teams scouting White Sox right fielder Alex Rios, the Dodgers designated Matt Guerrier for assignment, the Rockies signed Xavier Nady and Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune shared a collection of Padres notes.