Jeff Francoeur signed a minor league deal with the Indians over the winter in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster, but Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that he was cut from the team this morning.
Francoeur was actually pretty productive during Cactus League play, hitting 286/.359/.429 with one home run, two doubles, 10 RBI and a 6/4 K/BB ratio over 39 plate appearances. However, it wasn’t enough to secure a spot on Cleveland’s bench.
Francoeur turned 30 in January and owns an ugly .226/.272/.354 batting line since the start of the 2012 season. As well-liked as he is in the game, he might have to prove himself in the minors to get his next opportunity in the big leagues.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.