Making official what was presumed after they designated him for assignment last week, the Red Sox non-tendered third baseman/first baseman Juan Francisco.
Boston claimed Francisco off waivers from Toronto on November 19 to give them a fallback option at third base, but signing Pablo Sandoval (and Hanley Ramirez) made him superfluous.
Francisco isn’t much of a defender and can’t hit left-handed pitching, but against right-handers his career .786 OPS is higher than the career OPS versus righties by, among others, Michael Brantley, Billy Butler, Yoenis Cespedes, Eric Hosmer, and Michael Cuddyer.
He’ll land somewhere in a part-time role.
All offseason the assumption has been that the Yankees would make a strong effort to re-sign third baseman Chase Headley after acquiring him from the Padres for the stretch run.
However, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York the Yankees “have cooled” on that idea and are not willing to go beyond a four-year contract for Headley. In other words, no five-year deal like fellow free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval got from the rival Red Sox.
Matthews writes that the Yankees may consider using Martin Prado at third base if they can’t re-sign Headley at a price tag they’re comfortable with.
Last night we learned that Nick Markakis is no longer considered likely to re-sign with the Orioles after spending the first nine years of his career in Baltimore.
So where might the 31-year-old free agent outfielder end up? According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com the teams interested in Markakis include the Blue Jays, Braves, and Giants. And the Orioles, too.
At this point it seems all but guaranteed that Markakis will get a big money deal for at least 4-5 years, which is interesting considering his lack of recent production. This past season he hit just .276 with 14 homers and a .729 OPS in 155 games and he was even worse in 2013, hitting .271 with 10 homers and a .685 OPS in 160 games.
Any team signing him is clearly a huge fan of Markakis’ defense in right field and willing to bet big on a return to his 2006-2012 form. Baltimore made Markakis a free agent by turning down his $17.5 million option for 2015.
Torii Hunter wanted to re-sign with Detroit, but the Tigers had no interest and so the 39-year-old outfielder has been talking to at least a handful of other teams.
Hunter makes his offseason home in Texas and Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Rangers “have been making a push” to sign him.
Hunter’s defense has gone from Gold Glove-winning in center field to below average in right field, but he continued to hit well this year with 17 homers and a .765 OPS. He’d essentially be replacing fellow free agent Alex Rios in the Rangers’ outfield and lineup.
Mark Kotsay is the Padres’ new hitting coach, replacing Phil Plantier who was fired last month after three seasons on the job.
Kotsay played 17 years in the majors, five of them with the Padres, and retired following the 2013 season. He was a career .276 hitter with 127 homers and a .737 OPS in 1,914 games who frequently had some of the best strikeout-to-walk ratios in the league.
Much like pitching coach for the Rockies, hitting coach for the Padres is a tough and perhaps borderline impossible job because of pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Since moving to there in 2004 the Padres have never scored an above-average number of runs and have ranked 12th or worse among NL teams in eight of 11 seasons.