The Royals signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a 2-year contract extension worth $13 million. This eliminates a $4 million mutual option he had with the club for 2012; he’d signed a 1-year guaranteed deal for $2.5 million this past winter.
The responses to the Francouer extension were clear the moment it was announced—and that was before the dollar amount was disclosed.
It returned to the loathing he engendered from his days with the Braves and Mets; the way he never “got it” that he was supposed to learn to play a different way from what he’d been his whole life and was enabled by the Braves to do; that he rejected a contract extension with the Braves because he wanted more money; that he complained about being platooned by the Mets; that he turned down offers from better clubs like the Phillies to sign with Royals, where he’d have more of a chance to play.
The hatred of Francoeur is visceral, intense, irrational and absurd.
Before getting into what he was and railing against him due to past transgressions, how about looking at the year he’s having with the Royals?
Francoeur’s well on his way to having nearly 70 extra base hits and close to 30 stolen bases; his batting average is a respectable .277 and his on base percentage is acceptable (for him) at .329. Along with his defense and arm in right field, is this not good enough?
If it was anyone other than Francoeur, it would be; but because it’s him, anything he says and does becomes fodder to rehash what’s happened in his career.
Is 2-years and $13 million out of line for that production?
Francoeur isn’t going to suddenly learn patience and become a hitter who can get on base at a 35% clip. If you know that going in, why complain about it when he fulfills the expectations of what he is.
Considering the Royals future is so bright with offensive players Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon in the lineup, is it so awful to have Francoeur as a background player at the bottom of the lineup?
Would the Royals have been able to find someone who would put up markedly better numbers at that price in this winter’s free agent class?
The available outfielders via free agency who are viable alternatives are the following: Josh Willingham; David DeJesus; Michael Cuddyer; J.D. Drew; Lance Berkman; and Kosuke Fukudome. You can see the entire list here.
Via trade, presumably Ichiro Suzuki, B.J. Upton and Andre Ethier will be on the block. Going for the deep strike, they could look at the likes of Jay Bruce, Nick Markakis or Logan Morrison to see if their respective clubs are looking to do something drastic.
But examine all those players.
Are any of the free agents going to be worth the money that they’d cost in comparison to Frenchy? Getting the players I mentioned in trades either won’t be a major upgrade or are going to be ridiculously expensive in terms of what the Royals would have to give up to get them.
So why shouldn’t the Royals keep Frenchy?
As for the other criticisms, attacking him for turning down the Braves contract offer and costing himself a lot of money was his decision; he felt he could’ve gotten more than their offer; he invested in himself and lost.
He was a limited player with the Braves and Mets and appears to have found a home in Kansas City. It’s not affecting either of his former clubs with whom he spent substantial time; nor is it bothering the Rangers.
The Royals take him for what he is; he’s played well this year; and he’s signed what’s an affordable contract. If anyone has an issue with that, the problem is with them and not Jeff Francoeur.
Get over it.