Jeff Francoeur is a free agent coming off a pretty decent season. He smashed 13 home runs in a part-time role and drove in 45 runs in 2015.
Francoeur is looking for a 2-year deal for a couple million per season. The Braves could probably sign him for less than that. The Braves should leap at the opportunity to bring “Frenchy” back to Atlanta.
The Braves would obtain two very important assets if they brought Francoeur back home. First of all, it would be great PR. Besides Chipper Jones, Francoeur has been one of the most popular Braves players the past 20 years. Arguably one of the most popular ever.
Lets face it, the Braves have alienated a large number of fans. Bringing back Francoeur would be huge for fan morale. It would sell tickets and kindle interest.
Secondly and most important, Francoeur would upgrade the Braves team. Francoeur’s 13 home runs would have placed him second on last year’s team. He would have been sixth on the Braves with 45 RBIs.
Francouer put up those numbers in only 343 at bats. Comparatively, Braves starting right fielder Nick Markakis hit only 3 home runs and drove in 53 runs in 612 at bats.
I’m not trying to make the argument that Francoeur is a great hitter, he’s not. But when you look at who the Braves will have in the outfield in 2016, besides Ender Inciarte, Francoeur is arguably as good an offensive/defensive option as the Braves have on the roster. He may not put up the on base numbers that Markakis will put up, but he offsets that with more power and better defense.
Francoeur didn’t have a big year last season against lefty pitching, but in his career he has been hell on wheels against lefties. When you look at this Braves lefty dominated team, the Braves could use a guy like Francouer to offset all the lefty pitching they will face in 2016. He could even hit in back of Freddie Freeman on occasion in the clean-up hole against some lefties.
Francoeur is at a different stage in his career than he was a few years ago. He readily accepts a part-time role and does whatever he can to help the team. The guy loves baseball so much that he spent most of the 2014 in the minors, working on his game to get back to The Show.
I don’t see any negative in bringing Jeff Francoeur back to Atlanta. Just all positive. Tell me where I am wrong.