Ben Francisco exited yesterday’s game with a strained hamstring and today the Blue Jays placed him on the disabled list while recalling first baseman David Cooper from Triple-A.
Francisco has played sparingly for the Blue Jays, getting most of his starts versus left-handed pitching and hitting just .206 with a .535 OPS in 37 plate appearances.
Cooper has impressive Triple-A numbers, batting .347 with more walks (89) than strikeouts (62) in 162 total games there dating back to last season, but Las Vegas is an extremely hitter-friendly environment and his lofty average comes with just 15 homers in 730 plate appearances.
He’s also 25 years old, has never played a position other than first base, and struggled in 27 games for the Blue Jays last season. He could get an extended look at first base following Adam Lind’s demotion to the minors last week, although that would involve manager John Farrell having to juggle the rest of the lineup a bit.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.
Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.
Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.
Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.