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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.