According to a vague tweet by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Giants and outfielder Jeff Francoeur have agreed… upon what we can only assume is a contract.
Sources: Francoeur agrees with #SFGiants.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 9, 2013
Francoeur, 29, was recently designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals after posting a disappointing .208/.249/.322 slash line this season. Unfortunately, Francoeur has not relegated such disappointment to only this season.
Once dupped by Sports Illustrated as “The Natural,” Francoeur has compiled a career WPA of -9.9. Over the past two seasons, Francoeur’s demise has been apparent, posting -2.4 fWAR and UZR/150 of -9.8. While his struggles are as vast as the Atlantic, they’re also as recognizable. This season he’s coupled a 25.4 strikeout percentage with a 4.1 walk percentage and three homeruns. Which is to say, he’s a man with Adam Dunn’s plate discipline, but without Dunn’s trademark homerun power — Actually, Dunn has drawn quite few more walks than Francoeur, but you get the point. To put it in perspective:
Jeff Francoeur 2011-13: $16MM, 355 games, negative-.5 fWAR Gregor Blanco 2011-13: $1.866MM, 202 games, 3.8 fWAR
— Jeff Francoeur Facts (@FrancoeurFacts) June 20, 2013
Still, it’s not all bad. With a career .287/.338/.471 against left-handers, Francoeur could provide a nice platoon option to pair with Andres Torres.
A Puig of Their Own
Yesterday, in the midst of yet another forgettable outing from Andres Torres, I tweeted:
Can’t the #Giants just go to Cuba and find a Puig of their own?
— East Bay Sports Guy (@EBSportsGuy) July 9, 2013
Strangely, it appears that the Giants might have done just that. The similarities between Francoeur and Yasiel Puig are hard to ignore. Here’s a statistical comparison of their first 23 games in the majors provided by Grant Brisbee:
|AB: 81||AB: 89|
|HR: 8||HR: 7|
|AVG: .432||AVG: .427|
|OBP: .439||OBP: 457|
|SLG: .827||SLG: .708|
|BB: 0||BB: 3|
|SO: 16||SO: 18|
Whether Francoeur elevates to Puig-like levels — or Puig regresses to Francoeur-dom — will be determined in the coming months. In recent years, Brian Sabean has shown his knack for reclaiming players who’d otherwise be suiting up for the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox. This alone is enough to reserve judgement of the signing. Still, it’s hard to imagine that the Giants will be able to do anything to reverse Francoeur steep regression.
Fortunately, this experiment will be a cheap one. According to Rosenthal, the Royals mus still pay a majority of remainder of Francoeur’s $6.75 million salary, while the Giants will pay a pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum.