Juan Francisco Non-Tendered; Could He Help The Yankees?
By Matt Mirro
The power hitting corner infielder Juan Francisco was non-tendered by the Boston Red Sox yesterday and is now a free agent. Francisco hit 16 home runs along with a .220 batting average and 43 RBI in 106 games with the Blue Jays last year. While he’s not particularly gifted with the glove (He’s really just a designated hitter) he has plus power that a lot of teams are looking to add. The Red Sox let Francisco go because they had no room for him with Pablo Sandoval at third, Mike Napoli at first base and David Ortiz at the designated hitter position. Francisco will play in 2015 and I see a perfect fit with the Yankees. [related-topics]
The Yankees are looking less and less likely to resign third baseman Chase Headley. That’s fine because Martin Prado is a better third baseman than he is a second baseman. So, if Headley leaves Prado can slot in there without any problem and have a rookie take over at second. But, a backup at third base would be a very valuable piece with Prado likely to spend time at other positions and Alex Rodriguez unlikely to see much at the hot corner.
The Yankees are also in desperate need of a reliable backup option for first baseman Mark Teixeira. A power bat coming off the bench for designated hitter or pinch hit opportunities would be nice too. Signing Francisco would help solve to solve all of these issues.
A left handed hitter, Francisco’s raw power would feast off of thee short porch at Yankee Stadium. Even in a bench role he could easily be penciled in for double digits in home runs and hitting the 20 plus homer mark is not out of the question. While he’s not going to bat for a high average (He’s a career .236 hitter) he wouldn’t have to with the Yankees. He’d be asked to play first or third base and fill from time to time and provide pop to the lower third of the lineup. That’s what Francisco has done his whole career.
At just 27 years old Francisco is relatively young and signing him would be a great low cost/high reward option for the 2015 season and beyond. With uncertainties surrounding the infield and offensive production in question Francisco would be a nice fit for the Yankees’ bench. The Red Sox let Francisco go before he played one game with them but he could still make a real impact in the American League East race with the Bronx Bombers.