Jeff Francoeur continues to be Jeff Francoeur

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I’m not sure what’s more pathetic: the fact that the Atlanta news paper keeps running stories about Jeff Francoeur, or the fact that Braves fans like me keep reading them.  Anyway, there was another one over the weekend, and Jeffy unleashed a couple of Jeffy-gems:

Q: Things must be going well on the field, eh?


A: I feel great at the plate.

It’s true! He’s actually average since the trade as opposed to unspeakably awful!

Q: Were you coachable?


A: Shoot, I was willing to try about anything. Ask anybody. Still, someone up
here asked me about patience. I’m like, “Listen, I’m not going to go up
there and walk 70 times a year. So you can either accept me for the player I
am or go get somebody else.”

So the answer is no, you’re not coachable. Please, Mr. Francoeur, try to keep your answers precise.

Q: Do you think the Mets want you to be any different?


A: No, they’re not there for my on-base percentage. It was great to hear
[manager] Jerry Manuel in a team meeting say, “I don’t care about average. I
care about scoring runs, driving in runs and preventing runs.” That’s the
type of guy I am.

Because studies have shown that on-base percentage has nothing to do with scoring runs.

Q: What do you make of criticism that you couldn’t adjust?


A: I’m 25 years old. I came up so early. Most guys don’t get to the big
leagues until they’re 24, 25. I have made a little bit of adjustment on my
swing lately. I’ve spread out a little bit. I’ve gotten a lot of good advice
from Mac [Brian McCann]. Catching me, he was able to see some things.


Q: What did he say?


A: He talked about how I need to get back to what I used to do and that’s
attacking the fastball. If I swing at the slider low and away, so be it,
don’t let that fastball beat you.

God, I love Brian McCann. He tells a division rival that he needs to do more of that which is his greatest weakness (i.e. go after everything aggressively, even if it means chasing garbage) and the moron does it.  That’s why he’s my favorite Brave.

Oh well, we could shoot Francoeur fish in this particular barrel all day, but I do have a life to get to.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.