I slam Jeff Francoeur a lot for the things he does poorly, but I should be fair and note one thing he does really well, and that’s kill runners from the outfield. MLB.com has a feature on that today. Most interesting quote comes from Andre Dawson, who was rumored to have a bit of his arm himself once upon a time:
“You gain a reputation that you probably deserve, and no one wants to
test your arm. But sometimes I think your reputations get better than
your arm. I could still throw when I retired, but I think some
third-base coaches who hadn’t seen me throw for a while gave me too
As Dawson would no doubt agree, this is one area where being overrated is a wonderful thing. Better than killing a high percentage of runners at the plate is not having anyone try to advance on you in the first place. Francoeur probably gets that benefit of the doubt a lot these days, and will continue to do so even as his arm strength inevitably declines with age.
But you kind of hope some will still test him. Francoeur threw out two guys at the plate a week ago Sunday when I was in Port St. Lucie watching the Mets-Nats game. By far the most exciting plays in the game. I was in the press box and thus couldn’t cheer, but it took every ounce of strength I had to keep from doing so. And that’s with one of my least favorite players on my least favorite team. If it had been Jason Heyward throwing dudes out I probably would have ‘asploded.
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.