The Royals have designated outfielder Jeff Francoeur for assignment, reports Bob Dutton on Twitter. The veteran wasn’t producing at all, carrying a .574 OPS into today’s game against the Twins. He struck out in his only plate appearance of the day, pinch-hitting for Jarrod Dyson.
Francoeur is only 29 years old, but has followed up a season in which he posted negative 2.3 WAR with negative 0.8 through his team’s first 78 games. The Royals promoted Johnny Giavotella from Triple-A Omaha to take Francoeur’s place on the roster.
Francoeur hasn’t been as terrible in previous years and has a great reputation around baseball as a good clubhouse guy, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a couple teams expressed interest. Even using him in a platoon role is out of the question, though, as he has barely hit lefties better than righties over the last two seasons.
Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.
The 2015 Cy Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.
Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.
Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.
This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.
Kansas City could have a problem.
As first reported by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rockies have decided to bring back manager Walt Weiss for the 2016 season — the final year of a three-year deal he signed after his debut season in 2013.
Weiss carries a rough 208-278 managerial record through his first three years at the helm for Colorado, but it’s not like the rosters he’s been managing have been built to win.
The biggest need for the Rockies this winter is pitching — both starters and relievers — and general manager Jeff Bridich is also being retained for the 2016 season to try to find some.
Colorado’s starters and relievers combined for a 5.04 ERA in 2015, worst in MLB.
Colorado’s offense produced 737 runs, ranking fifth in the major leagues.