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?
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.