The Blue Jays just announced that they have traded for outfielder Ben Francisco. To the Phillies: lefty Frank Gailey.
When last we heard of Francisco, he had just hit a three-run pinch-hit home run off Jaime Garcia in the top of the seventh inning of Game 3 of the NLDS. In more normal times we know of him as a fourth outfielder type with a .260/.332/.430 career line in over 1500 plate appearances scattered over five seasons. You might think of him as a platoon guy, but over his career he has hit lefties and righties at roughly the same clip.
Gailey is a minor league lefty who posted a 3.41 ERA and 61/21 K/BB ratio in 74 innings this year between Single-A and Double-A. He’s 26, so it’s not like he’s a comer, but he could be useful.
For the Phillies, this was mostly about roster flexibility, it seems. Francisco was arbitration eligible and there really wasn’t a place for him. Playoff heroics aside, Charlie Manuel seemed to sour on him some after his stint starting at the beginning of last year was less-than-stellar.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.