Jeff Francoeur

Shocker: the Royals and Jeff Francoeur are close to a deal

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I saw Dayton Moore and the Royals signing Jeff Francoeur at the paddock before the second race. I saw Dayton Moore and the Royals signing Jeff Francoeur outside the men’s room before I placed my bet.  I saw Dayton Moore and the Royals signing Jeff Francoeur before they got up this morning.

Now Ken Rosenthal reports that it’s close to going down. A one-year deal. Possible option for 2012. There are things that are more inevitable than this was, but they are only measured on a geologic time frame.

And unless it’s crazy money — which I doubt it will be — it’s not going to kill anyone. Jeff Francoeur will not be the difference between the Royals winning and not winning the AL Central in 2011, even if he gets 600 at bats (note: I don’t use plate appearances for Francoeur because including a metric that covers walks is pretty pointless with Jeffy). He’s a decent-defending body in right field, hopefully on a platoon basis, but if he’s not going to be there every day, it’s no biggie. At least not on this team.

He’ll just be there long enough, I presume, for there to be a whole new round of “Jeff Francoeur is focusing on working the count” articles this spring, as there are every spring.  He’ll be there just long enough for people to realize that that one lucky first-pitch homer he hit the first week of the season is not indicative of his talents.  He’ll be there long enough for him to depress Royals fans who want him to be their Great White Hope, and to cause Ned Yost to bench or platoon him.  He’ll be there long enough for either him or his agent to complain in the press about him being an everyday player and wanting a trade because that’s what they do every year.

And then, in July or August, he’ll get traded to the Giants.

Enjoy Kansas City, Jeffy. Lots of good food there.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.

Tigers to give Omar Infante some work in center field this spring

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Omar Infante #4 of the Detroit Tigers follows through on an RBI single scoring Prince Fielder #28 during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field  on September 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
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Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.

Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.

The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”