Thursday, November 13, 2014

Phillies sign OF Francoeur, more to minor league deals

It was announced on Thursday that the Phillies and outfielder Jeff Francoeur have agreed to terms on a minor league contract. The agreement includes an invitation to spring training.

Last season for Triple-A El Paso in the Padres organization, Francoeur tallied a .289 batting average with 15 homers and 69 RBI in 115 games. In 10 big league games with San Diego in 2014, the six-foot-four 220-pounder went 2-for-24 (.083 avg). Francoeur, who has also played with Atlanta, Kansas City, Texas, San Francisco and the Mets, possesses a .262/.305/.417 slash line in parts of 10 seasons in the majors.

Francoeur grabbed headlines early last season after he was the target of a lengthy prank by his El Paso teammates, who convinced the 30-year-old that a member of the roster, hurler Jorge Reyes, was deaf.

In 2005, as a member of the Braves, Francoeur finished third in National League rookie of the year voting behind Phils first baseman Ryan Howard and Houston outfielder Willy Taveras.

Additionally, the Phils will bring back infielders Andres Blanco and Russ Canzler. The 30-year-old Blanco split time with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the Phils last year, posting a .277 average with a home run and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club. Canzler, 28, spent time last season with Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley, sporting a combined .275 average with 13 homers and 58 RBI in 112 games.

Backstop John Hester, outfielder Xavier Paul as well as utility man Chase d'Arnaud, brother of former Phillies first round draft choice Travis d'Arnaud, were also inked by the Phillies.

With the addition of a veteran outfielder like Francoeur, along with the previously announced acquisitions of outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Darin Mastroianni, fans may wonder what the Phils intend to do with names like former top pick Zach Collier and longtime on-the-verge-of-a-breakout prospect Leandro Castro. Both youngsters have failed to prove themselves worthy of a big league call up in recent years, showing inconsistency at the plate while other outfield prospects like Cameron Perkins and Kelly Dugan have displayed more promise.
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