Phillies, Ben Francisco avoid arbitation with one-year deal

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The Phillies and outfielder Ben Francisco avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.175 million contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Francisco, who was acquired from the Indians along with Cliff Lee in July of 2009, was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 29-year-old outfielder earned $470,000 last season while batting .268/.327/.441 with six home runs, 28 RBI and eight stolen bases over 197 plate appearances.

The Phillies haven’t added a right-handed hitting outfielder this winter, so Francisco should be primed for more playing time in 2011, likely as part of a timeshare with top prospect Domonic Brown in right field.

With Francisco signed, Kyle Kendrick is the team’s only remaining arbitration-eligible player.

Nats players are fed up with their bullpen issues

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Tom Boswell of the Washington Post does frequent Q&As with readers and today he had quite the A to one of their Qs.

The question was about the Nats’ bullpen, which is obviously a glaring weakness on an otherwise excellent team. Following a long answer talking about the approach to bullpen construction, he dropped this:

On Friday, yet ANOTHER National simply walked up to me and said, “When the hell are they going to get this done? What are they waiting for? Waiting is just doing more damage.”

He didn’t even have to say what subject he was talking about or whom “they” were but it’s the bullpen and the Lerners.

A team has a problem when all a reporter has to do is say, “How’s it going?” and an established part of the team blasts the owners for not understanding what’s happening in their own dugout/clubhouse.

The Nats have a bit of a history venting to the Post’s reporters in ways a lot of players don’t vent, but that’s usually when things are going bad overall. These days, things are going pretty good for the Nats, the bum bullpen notwithstanding. I guess one weakness on an otherwise good team is annoying as hell.

But I guess now that they’re getting K-Rod, all of that will end.

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

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The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.