Jeff Francoeur made the Braves roster

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The most hilarious thing in Braves Country over the past few days has been reporters who cover the team acting as if it was a big mystery as to whether or not Jeff Francoeur would make the roster. Today was the deadline for the Braves to decide what to do with him — he was due a roster bonus at noon that they would not have wanted to pay if they planned to cut him — and as late as 9am there was some “will he or won’t he” afoot in the Atlanta media. Then, a few minutes ago, the Braves announced that he was going to be on the Opening Day roster. Congratulations, Frenchy.

In reality this was never in doubt. Barring injury, Francoeur was going to make this team. He’s popular in Atlanta and he’s one of the few guys casual Braves fans might actually be able to pick out of a lineup. And hey, he’s a nice guy and a good clubhouse presence who, unlike the Jeff Francoeur of a decade ago, knows where he stands in the universe. As I said when he made the Phillies last year, a team going nowhere is well-served to have dudes like Francoeur around. Limited rewards but no risk and, heck, he’ll throw an inning of relief for you. Better him than some injury prone dude or a two-year commitment to a guy who, while a bit better, wouldn’t be significantly better.

Last year I vowed to buy a Jeff Francoeur Phillies shirsey if he made their team. He did and I did. Now I have to buy a Braves Francoeur shirsey. I’m going to wait until Opening Day because there’s a slight chance his number changes between now and then, but it’ll be in-transit to me soon.

Whhheeeeee!

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.