Royals sign Jeff Francoeur to two-year, $13.5 million extension

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UPDATE: The new deal is worth $13.5 million for two seasons.

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Credit where it is due. Jeff Francoeur is having a better season than anyone — especially me — thought he would. He’s hitting .278/.328/.465 with 15 homers and 66 RBI and he’s playing his usual above-average defense. That’s more than useful in the Majors these days, and it has now earned him a two-year contract extension with the Royals.

We don’t have the terms yet, but the Royals were soon going to have to make a decision on his $4 million mutual option for 2012.  I would assume that he’s going to get something north of that for both 2012 and 2013, rewarding him for his good play, but not putting the team on the hook for a full $4 million in 2012.

In other news, I hear that with the new contract under his belt, Francoeur will have a newly found confidence entering next season, which should help with his plate discipline, allowing him to become the superstar we always knew he would be.

Here are the final All-Star voting results before the close of balloting

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All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.

Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Javier Baez made a couple of fantastic plays last night

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Javier Baez is a second baseman. He’s played a good bit of shortstop and, if he played for some other teams, he may be an everyday shortstop, but he’s the Cubs’ second baseman.

With Addision Russell out with some shoulder issues, however, Baez got the call at short last night for the Cubs-Nats game in Washington. It was a good call, as he made a couple of spectacular plays in the field.

First up is this highway robbery of Bryce Harper, who thought he had a base hit. It was a good thought, too, as he hit the ball like a dang rocket:

Later, when Adam Lind was up to bat, he fouled one off behind third base. Baez got on his horse and did this:

That inspired Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper to use the old line the great Harry Kalas used about Garry Maddox: “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.” It’s a great line, and aptly used to describe Javier Baez’s Monday night.