As expected no teams wanted anything to do with the $3 million or so remaining on Jeff Francoeur’s contract, so he passed through waivers unclaimed and has been released by the Royals.
That means Francoeur is now a free agent and able to sign with any team for whatever money and role he can get. My guess is that he’ll land another major-league contract, but it’ll be close to the minimum salary for a part-time gig.
For all his faults when pressed into everyday action–he’s been putrid while hitting .228 with a .642 OPS in 207 games since the beginning of last season–Francoeur remains a potentially useful platoon corner outfielder versus left-handed pitching. And of course everyone within baseball loves him, so landing with a contender shouldn’t shock anyone.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.