Matthew Pouliot

Alex Rodriguez

Report: Alex Rodriguez can still accept a 150-game suspension

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A person close to Alex Rodriguez told Bob Nightengale of USATODAY that the disgraced slugger has a standing offer from MLB to have his suspension reduced from 211 games to 150 if he foregoes his appeal.

The source told Nightengale that MLB originally offered a 100-game ban before announcing the 211-game suspension, but that the compromise was upped to 150 games once the announcement was made.

MLB denied the report to Nightengale: “We have not offered 100 games and no offer is on the table,” MLB vice president Rob Manfred said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports.

If this is true, it suggests Rodriguez and the league would still have some room to maneuver should Rodriguez aim for a resolution. Something like 125 games, if accepted soon, would allow him to return right around the All-Star break next year. Rodriguez, though, may like his chances of ending up with a lesser suspension through the arbitration process.

Is the end here for Jeff Francoeur?

Jeff Francoeur
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Maybe someone will pick Jeff Francoeur up for their bench after the Giants designated the 29-year-old outfielder for assignment on Tuesday, but it’s far from a given. His former habit was to hit like gangbusters whenever he joined a new team, but in San Francisco, he came in at .194/.206/.226 with no homers and four RBI in 62 at-bats.

Francoeur has played nine seasons in the majors with a .263/.306/.419 line. That’s not too shabby for a middle infielder, but for a corner outfielder, it’s certainly not getting the job done. In fact, of all the guys to last so long in the bigs, one could say he ranks among the worst corner outfielders of all-time.

By OPS+, here are the worst corner outfielders to amass 4,000 plate appearances:

88 – Don Mueller (4,593 PA from 1948-59)
90 – Shano Collins (7,045 PA from 1910-25)
91 – Jeff Francoeur (4,959 PA from 2005-13)
92 – Cliff Heathcote (4,972 PA from 1918-32)
93 – Glenn Wilson (4,468 PA from 1982-93)
95 – Michael Tucker (4,686 PA from 1995-2006)
96 – Jim Rivera (4,008 PA from 1952-61)
97 – Juan Encarnacion (5,095 PA from 1997-2007)
98 – Johnny Wyrostek (4,785 PA from 1942-54)
98 – Pete Fox (6,169 PA from 1933-45)

Baseball-reference’s WAR, which factors in defense and baserunning, isn’t a whole lot kinder. It rates him as the 14th worst corner outfielder to amass 3,000 PAs and the 6th worst to amass 4,000 PAs. Here’s the list with the 4,000 PA cutoff:

3.6 – Don Mueller (1948-59)
5.6 – Dante Bichette (1988-2001)
6.0 – Al Zarilla (1943-53)
6.4 – Jose Guillen (1997-2010)
6.9 – Jim Rivera (1952-61)
7.4 – Jeff Francoeur (2005-13)
7.6 – George Browne (1901-12)
7.6 – Tommy Griffith (1913-25)
8.0 – Michael Tucker (1995-2006)
8.8 – Juan Encarnacion (1997-2007)

Both the raw stat and WAR rate Mueller as the worst of the corner outfielder. Mueller was actually a two-time All-Star for the Giants in the ’50s. He led the league in hits with 212 in 1954, his age-27 season, but he quickly fell off the table from there and was particularly dreadful in his last two seasons as a regular. Plus, since he never walked and had limited power and speed, he was never all that valuable in the first place.

Francoeur has also had his moments. In fact, he’s been a three-win player three times of his career, according to WAR. Unfortunately, his WAR for his other six seasons is a -2.2. These last two years, he’s at -3.6. His power has deserted him on offense, and he lacks range in the outfield, though he still possesses a very good arm. At this point, there’s nothing to recommend him over a dozen veteran outfielder scattered around Triple-A. He’s going to have a difficult time landing more than a minor league contract this winter, and he might find that his best bet to continue playing is to head to Japan.

Jose Bautista goes on DL with bone bruise in hip

Jose Bautista
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The Blue Jays’ sad year just got a little more depressing: Jose Bautista was placed on the DL after Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep by the Yankees.

The cause is a bone bruise in his left hip that knocked out of this afternoon’s matinee. According to Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi, Bautista hurt the hip weeks ago as he was running from third base to the plate on his way to scoring run.

Bautista entered the day tied for fifth in the AL with 28 homers, tied for 12th with 73 RBI and 10th with an .856 OPS.

The move means Toronto’s entire starting outfield is on the DL. Melky Cabrera has been out since Aug. 2 with a strained left knee, and Colby Rasmus went on the DL a week ago with a strained left oblique.

Kevin Pillar, Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose had been filling in for those two of late. Now they can all play, though someone like Ricardo Nanita or Moises Sierra could be called up to help out. No corresponding roster move was immediately announced.