Blue Jays, Frank Francisco avoid arbitration with $4 million deal


Right on cue, the Blue Jays just announced via their Twitter feed that they have avoided arbitration with reliever Frank Francisco by agreeing to a one-year, $4 million contract.

Francisco, who was acquired from the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli earlier this week, requested $4.875 million and was offered $3.5 million from the Rangers when arbitration figures were exchanged earlier this month, so he ultimately settled for a little below the midpoint. He accepted arbitration from the Rangers in November due to his Type A free agent status.

The 31-year-old Francisco lost his closer job to Neftali Feliz last April and his season was eventually cut short due to a strained muscle in his side, but he still managed to compile a 3.76 ERA and 60/18 K/BB ratio over 52 2/3 innings. He should have the advantage over Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch for the closer role in Toronto this season.

Joe Girardi is not a fan of Game 162 scheduling

Joe Girardi
Getty Images

The Yankees fell behind early to the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, a day after dropping both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader. Their game, as did every other game on Sunday with the exception of the Braves-Cardinals doubleheader, started at 3:05 or 3:10 EDT, a change Major League Baseball recently made to create fairness on the final day of the season.

Girardi is not a fan. Per the Associated Press:

It was cloudy at Camden Yards at 3:05 p.m., but late-afternoon games often make it difficult for batters to see pitches.

Girardi said, “Here’s the thing that bothers me: If it’s a sunny day you’re playing in shadows.”

He added, “If it’s the most important game of the year to get in, I don’t think that’s right.”

Understanding the idea is for every team to play at the same time, Girardi said, “Then play all night games.”

One wonders if MLB had scheduled Sunday’s slate of games for the night, if Girardi would have instead complained about batters losing fly balls in the stadium lights. Furthermore, both teams have to play in the same conditions.

Video: Ichiro Suzuki pitches an inning for the Marlins

Ichiro Suzuki
AP Photo

Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was given an opportunity to play a new position in Sunday’s series finale against the Phillies. After the Phillies rallied to take a 6-2 lead in the seventh, the Marlins let Suzuki take the hill in the eighth. And, in news that surprises no one, he was impressive.

Though Suzuki gave up a run on two hits, he flashed a fastball that hit the mid-80’s and a breaking ball with some bite.

Suzuki, who turns 42 years old later this month, is 65 hits of 3,000 in his major league career. The Marlins are interested in bringing him back in 2016.