Jeff Francoeur wants to be part of the Royals’ future

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Bob Dunn has a story in the Kansas City Star about Jeff Francoeur’s place in the world at the trading deadline. Short version: he would prefer not to go:

“People keep asking me about it,” he said. “And what I say is I’m sure if a team came to the Royals and overwhelmed them (with an offer) for me or Melky (Cabrera), they’d probably have to do it. But you know what? I think a lot of us will be here … At some point,” Francoeur said, “we’ll talk to Dayton about the option. Maybe get a two- or three-year deal or something. I’ve told Dayton that I like it here. I’d love to stay here … Because … let’s say you trade me and Melky, you’re just starting over. If you’re trying to build something to go to the next level, at some point you’ve got to make a stand and keep guys.”

After a fast start, Francoeur is basically at his pedestrian career norms. Given how he always starts fast when he changes teams, you’d think he’d love a trade!

In all seriousness, though, the Royals are in a rather interesting position with this guy.  Contrary to what he implies, he is not one of those veterans a team regrettably lets go, suggesting no commitment to the future and he is not one of the guys whose retention would signal a brave new course for the Royals. It’s not Carlos Beltran circa 2004.

But he’s also not useless. In spring training I talked to some people at Royals camp who said they’d be utterly shocked to see him stay in Kansas City past 2011, but it’s not crazy that he could.  Maybe not on that $4 million option, but some way. There’s value to having a guy fill a position in a middling-to-average way. One less thing to worry about.

The key is what, if anything, a team would offer for him here at the deadline.  I have a hard time seeing someone offering a prospect who could be a starter in the next year or two. And if Dayton Moore can get no better — if it’s an organizational arm or some less-talented toolsy future corner outfielder —  isn’t having an amiable, partially useful and happy guy like Francoeur filling the hole preferable?

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.