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Jeff Francoeur, now an outfielder/pitcher, gets call up to Padres

Jul 23, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

jeff francoeur getty Getty Images

After back-to-back terrible seasons Jeff Francoeur’s chances of returning to the majors looked so bleak that last month he decided to take up pitching at Triple-A for the Padres’ affiliate, but now San Diego is actually calling him up and presumably he’ll mostly serve as an outfielder.

Francoeur made seven pitching appearances at Triple-A, all as a reliever, posting a 4.26 ERA and 4/3 K/BB ratio in 6.1 innings.

As an outfielder he hit .294 with 15 homers and a .790 OPS, which looks decent until you consider that the average hitter in the Pacific Coast League has a .768 OPS. So he’s been slightly above average offensively, with his usual horrendous 82/18 K/BB ratio. In the majors he’s hit .226 with a .626 OPS in 229 games since 2012.

San Diego is in full-on sell mode, parting ways with Huston Street and Chase Headley already and likely moving Chris Denorfia next, but the 30-year-old Francoeur just isn’t a big league-caliber player at this point. Helluva guy, though, and I suppose if you’re going to be a horrible team with a gutted roster in the second half you might as well have some nice guys in the clubhouse.

  1. elpendejo59 - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    The Braves homer in me still roots for this guy, as irrational as it may seem.

    • dondada10 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

      He played briefly for the Mets and I still root for him. It’s Frenchy.

      • elpendejo59 - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        Ahh, yes. The vaunted Frenchy for Ryan Church trade. That worked out wonderfully for both sides…

    • dsaverno - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:29 PM

      Saw him is spring training with the Indians this year. Seemed like a great guy, and would have been as productive as Giambi has been. Just wish he was a better player. He could have been the face of baseball if his talent had developed better.

      • Jen Rainwater - Jul 23, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        I agree with you all! It’s Frenchy!!!! He’s a great guy and while he never played for my team – A’s fans completely embrace and love him for being the inspiration behind our annual Bacon Day (last season he tailgated with the fans on Bacon Day!) and he’s just an all around great guy. It’s a shame he is not a little bit better because he’s probably the nicest guy in the game!

  2. gammagammahey - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Nice guy and all, but writers use that to glaze over the fact that hewhined and complained when he was demoted to get right, forced the Braves to trade him because he was unhappy with his playing time, and then did more of the same when the Mets realized he wasn’t worth playing every day anymore. Hopefully he’s learned some humility. And how to tell if a teammate is actually deaf.

  3. guitrguy - Jul 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    I can’t believe he is only 30. I feel like he should be much older.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Nine years ago this issue of SI came out. I always remember it like it was 15 years ago instead.

      • rollinghighwayblues - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        Link added this time.

  4. asimonetti88 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    Sad thing is, he may be the Padres best hitter. Such a rough year for the Pads.

  5. dan1111 - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    I understand how frustrating it was the Francoeur was overrated for all those years, but in this role, I’m rooting for him. He won’t do any harm on a basement team, and the possibility of a two-way player in the majors is fun.

  6. icanspeel - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Is the move a sign the Padres already traded Denorfia? I don’t think they need an OF unless someone went down or was traded.

    • jwbiii - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      The Padres called up 3B Chris Nelson a few days before the Headley trade, so I would guess that a Denorfia trade is imminent.

    • camelkev - Jul 23, 2014 at 10:07 PM

      Maybin suspended for fis ADHD medicine. Might as well bring up Frenchy as opposed to promoting a youngster too soon and destroying his confidence.

  7. Ayase Yano (綾瀬市 矢野) - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Oh, would you look at that. Otani Shohei’s not alone in the world anymore.


  8. wisbadgfan - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Francouer is a good guy——I remember the story about him calling a hot vendor over to talk to, and telling him that he is buying hot dogs for everybody in that section.

    He still is only 30 so maybe one last try to get back on track. Probably this is a long shot, but I am rooting for him.

  9. chargrz - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Probably be batting 3rd for the Padres. The team is a complete JOKE!

    • ch0psuey - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      apparently the so called “Fans” as well. *Looks north*.

      • chargrz - Jul 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        Some fans like yourself obviously turn a blind eye to the horrible decisions made by ownership and expect the fans to just say “Thank You , May I have Another?”

      • gloccamorra - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:27 AM

        Very astute observation ch0psuey. The football fan usually has nothing good or productive to say about the Padres.

      • ch0psuey - Jul 28, 2014 at 3:19 AM

        I see everything “chargrz” every day, do I agree with every decision… We have one thing in common and that is browsing this blog every day. Something we don’t have in common is tucking tail, getting scared and barking at some random object. In case you haven’t found out yet I am talking about you.

  10. joecb91 - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    “Helluva guy, though, and I suppose if you’re going to be a horrible team with a gutted roster in the second half you might as well have some nice guys in the clubhouse.”

    KT nods his head in approval. Chemistry over talent every day *spits*

  11. bronco58lb - Jul 23, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    I’d rather see the Padres bring up Reymond Fuentes and use the remaining two months to develop their youth.

    • gloccamorra - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:38 AM

      I’d rather see the Padres keep their number four ranked pitching staff intact instead of the “full-on sell mode” Aaron Gleeman is predicting. So far they’ve dropped one of two high priced closers and a home grown guy who was leaving in two months anyway.

      Kennedy isn’t an extra piece, with two starters on the DL and the two rookie replacements on limited innings both this year and next, plus 3 pitchers returning from TJ surgery, also on limited innings next year. Denorfia is a hustling, productive fifth outfielder who’s a FA but might well re-sign with the Padres next year anyway.

      The last thing to consider is money. The Padres owners aren’t broke, and with Street, Headley, Nick Hundley, Kyle Blanks, and Josh Johnson gone, they’ve reduced payroll by over $30 million already.

  12. truthseeker25 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    As a Met fan I saw him as a class act, hard worker, and he had always been a pleasant individual. Good luck Jeff.

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