Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ben Francisco Is...Something?

Life in the Era of Alex Anthopoulos is a stitch, isn't it?

The Jays acquired outfielder Ben Francisco from the Phillies yesterday afternoon for pitcher Frank Gailey. (And seriously, who on Earth is Frank Gailey?) Before we'd even made it through 50 characters of the tweet officially announcing the transaction, we were short of breath, dizzy with the possibilities of what the next move in the sequence might be. Was this Travis Snider's final moments in our laundry? Was Gio Gonzalez on his way to walk 90 batters in a Blue Jays uniform next season?

By the time 5 pm rolled around and Alex Anthopoulos' conference call comments began getting tweeted out, and it was clear that there were no subsequent moves to come, we were more than a little confused. So, Ben Francisco is really here to stay?

In trying to wrap our heads around the move, we thought for a moment about Earl Weaver, and his notion that a team needn't have more than nine pitchers, including four starters. That's a tough sell now, but having six position players on the bench so that you can work platoon advantages in your favour is not the worst idea we could think of. Sure, you might wish that Travis Snider would learn to hit lefties, but let's pretend that a pool of rabid gators is going to be let loose on your meaty posterior unless the Jays win 94 games: Would you run Francisco out against left-handed pitchers? Yer darn tootin' you would!

(Setting aside, of course, the bizarrely even platoon splits that Francisco himself has, he would be a better option against the southpaws than Snider, Thames, or maybe even Rasmus.)

Not that we think that any of this actually happens. We're still doubtful that Francisco - supposing he even makes the team - plays as often as Corey Patterson did last year, and we're still assuming that John Farrell would prefer more choice in the bullpen than on the bench. But the notion that the team might work in some regular platoons at first, second and in left appeals to us. If that's where this outfield pileup nets out, we'll be happy to see it.

Scrap Heap Dreaming
There were 29 men set loose and left untendered at the deadline to...um, tender. It's an inauspicious list, though if we had to pore through it (and why wouldn't we?), here are a few notable names that we might consider.

-Hong-Chih Kuo: Sky high walk rates (7.0/9) and injury derailed him in 2011, but for a modest contract (something under the $2.75 million he made last year), we'd think he'd be a decent fit towards the back of the Jays' pen.

-Ryan Spilborghs: Because who couldn't use one extra outfielder in the mix? We like the .360 OBP in 2010, and wouldn't mind him as a bench player.

-Eli Whiteside: Not so much for his bat or his ability to handle pitchers. But he couldn't be that much worse than Jeff Mathis, and he has the most awesome surname-to-hair relationship in the Majors. He could be a Bond villain.

-Joe Saunders: Or as we'll affectionately refer to him, "Joe-Joe Saunders". (Incidentally, Jo-Jo Reyes IS available. But let's not go there.) Saunders is a classic innings-eater, and wouldn't be much more than a fifth starter, but he wouldn't be a bad option to have around given the questions around Kyle Drabek, Jesse Litsch and Dustin McGowan going into the season.

-Jeremy Hermida: We'll always advocate for Jeremy Hermida. We always add him in deep fantasy leagues and on video games, and we'll always remember the year he hit 84 homers for us in a season of 2K baseball. Sign him up, because we can't quit Hermida.


Ty said...

Kuo wasn't derailed by injury, it was an anxiety disorder... I'd love to pick him up but I think if he does end up pitching again, it'll be with the Dodgers. The only reason they non-tendered him was because he's apparently unsure if he still wants to pitch, but I'd assume under the circumstances that L.A. would be the first choice if he does decide to come back.

Tao of Stieb said...

Didn't realize that. I probably could have found that information had I looked. I just remembered him being DL'ed last year.

Nicholas DeRosa said...

jojo reyes is available!

I dont think thames or snider will be moved. I think fransico is to compete with davis who may or may not be healthy yet.

Anonymous said...

the Jays haven't had a good LF since Jorge Bell

Ty said...

The thing about Francisco is, even if one of Snider or Thames is moved, the overcrowded outfield situation doesn't change at all because the current projected roster already assumes one of them will be spending the ear at AAA. I can't see both Francisco and Davis starting the year on the team.

BigBear said...

Hey Tao,
Can you have a post about Yu Darvish? Is he a real deal or it's all hype?

Anonymous said...

Came here to read about Darvish and nothing?

Anonymous said...

Looking to make excuses for those cheap fucks at Rogers trying to block the Yankees, Tao?