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MLB News and Notes: Indians make some minor moves

MLB News and Notes: Indians make some minor moves
January 7, 2014
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In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.

With no major signings or trades occurring on Monday, there are no "Top Stories." Instead, I will give a rundown of all of the day's news and notes.

Here are the stories from Monday, January 6th.

News and Notes

  • The Indians had a busy day Monday, signing reliever Scott Atchison and outfielder Jeff Francoeur to Minor League deals with invites to Spring Training. Atchison, 38 in March, spent last season with the Mets and posted a 4.37 ERA in 45.1 innings. The righty has ties with manager Terry Francona, spending 2010-2012 with Boston (2010-2011 under Francona). In 2012, Atchison pitched to a 1.58 ERA in 51.1 innings for the Red Sox. Francoeur, 30 on Wednesday, hit a combined .204/.238/.298 in 245 at bats for the Royals and Giants in 2013. In 2011, Francoeur hit .285/.329/.476 with 20 homers, 87 RBI, and 22 steals in 601 at bats with the Royals. The right fielder is also known for having a very strong throwing arm.
  •'s Mark Sheldon reported that Reds officials met with Homer Bailey before the holiday about a new long-term contract extension. Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty noted that Bailey may be hard to extend, saying "young pitchers are getting quite a bit."
  • ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Orioles are one of the teams known to have interest in free agent starter Bronson Arroyo.
  • Olney also tweeted that free agent pitcher Chris Capuano is looking for a two-year deal and is willing to wait for a team to give it to him.
  • According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Dodgers are nearing an extension with manager Don Mattingly.
  • Rosenthal also reported that the Mariners are interested in big-name additions like Nelson CruzMasahiro Tanaka, and David Price, but that Seattle ownership needs to be persuaded that they should open up their wallets to pay these high-priced players.
  • 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson says the Twins are willing to meet Matt Garza's salary demands as long as it is on a short-term deal. Garza, however, is still looking for a longer commitment.
  • Andy Martino of the New York Daily News says that a reunion between the Twins and Johan Santana still remains a possibility.
  • The Mets signed catcher Taylor Teagarden to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.
  • Chris Dickerson agreed to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training with the Pirates.
  • One Major League executive told Bill Madden of the New York Daily News to look out for Oakland when it comes to contenders for Masahiro Tanaka.
  • Jeff Samardzija told CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney that he would most likely not sign an extension with a new team if the Cubs were to trade him this offseason.
  • The Pirates earned the number one spot for organizational talent in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.

User Comments

January 8, 2014 - 7:35 AM EST
Agreed, it is virtually a no cost signing. If he's on the club reports say he makes $1 M and incentives. If he does make the team he either opts out, they cut him or he plays AAA ball for the yr. Regardless, low cost move.

Btw, I remember last yr a number of people trashing the Raburn signing and he looked even worse than Francouer in 2012. Just saying, it's no big deal. I've seen a lot of restless Tribe fans tearing this signing up, else where. I don't get it, apparently they don't either.
January 7, 2014 - 7:55 PM EST
As a minor league flyer, this is a damn good one, as there's absolutely no risk and (as others have noted) still potential for some upside/rebound. My vision into the future is a little fuzzy, but I can see a four-man bench made up of Raburn, Aviles, Giambi and Francouer. Versatility, some pop, and *experience*.
January 7, 2014 - 3:44 PM EST
Isn't Francoeur a RH bat with some POP. After all that's a needed commodity on the Tribe. I know the leadership of Cleveland tried several times to acquire him in the past. Al least we have him now and didn't give up any prospects.
January 7, 2014 - 11:24 AM EST
I think Francoeur has a better chance to be this year's Jason Kubel than Ryan Raburn.
January 7, 2014 - 9:27 AM EST
I think Francoeur could be also a Insurance policy if Giambi has nothing left in the tank. A little over a month away from spring training still cant believe how many FA still unsigned.
January 7, 2014 - 9:19 AM EST
Francoeur is an interesting pickup. He was someone I was really interested in the Tribe acquiring back in 2011 and even in the offseason between 11-12. Then he struggled in 2012 and fell off a cliff in 2013. The hope here is he is yet another lottery ticket like Raburn last year, a player with proven success in the past who is still relatively young and could be a bounce back candidate. I struggle to see how Francoeur can fit on the team even if he looks good in spring training because aside from a cannon for an arm he is limited as a defender in the outfield. But, things have a way of working themselves out during the 6-7 weeks of spring training.
January 7, 2014 - 9:11 AM EST
It's simple with Francoeur....he has just never been that good of a hitter. Since 2006 (first full season in the bigs) he's only had two seaons with an wRC+ over 90 (100 is average), only two seasons with a wOBA over .315, and only two seasons with an OPS+ over 100 (which is average).

He was basically average in 2007 and above average in 2011. Other than that he's been pretty terrible offensively. Had value as a platoon guy and in the OF but he's been bad against lefties the last two years and his defense has really taken a step back. Maybe he bounces back but I wouldn't count on him at all. Good signing as there is zero risk though obviously.

One silver lining....4 times Francouer has joined a new team (not counting Cleveland)....3 of those 4 times he posted some of the best offensive numbers of his career. He joined the Mets during the 2009 season and posted an .836 OPS. Joined the Rangers in 2010 and posted an .848 OPS (albeit in 15 games), and in 2011 joined the Royals and posted his best (full) offensive year ever with an .805 OPS. Joined the Giants last year and didn't quite work out....but maybe he can pull off something in Cleveland....

Would make a nice fit if he could. Could be that RH bat that makes sense to platoon Santana at 3B....Frenchy in RF vs lefties, Raburn DH, Santana at 3B...
January 7, 2014 - 8:46 AM EST
*Should have read... was hitting it right at people.*
January 7, 2014 - 8:45 AM EST
No, Francouer wasn't hurt. He recently had LASIK surgery, so maybe he was having some problems seeing the ball. Not trying to be funny, but his batting avg suggests one of two things...that was the case...OR...he waist ting the ball right at people. I'm not an advanced stats guy so I'll leave the later to someone else.

Francouer could be this yrs Ryan Raburn. At worst Francouer offers depth, perhaps as a 4/5 OF. I could easily see Francouer replacing Stubbs, some decent speed on the bases, a strong throwing arm with the ability to play RF, CF, and LF. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Francouer force his way onto the roster, but after 2 tough yrs, who knows.
January 7, 2014 - 8:27 AM EST
Anybody know why Francoeur had a great season at age 27 and then the bottom dropped out at ages 28 and 29? How do you lose 269 points off your OPS from age 27 to 29? Did he get hurt?

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