Phillies, Ben Francisco avoid arbitation with one-year deal

3 Comments

The Phillies and outfielder Ben Francisco avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.175 million contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Francisco, who was acquired from the Indians along with Cliff Lee in July of 2009, was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 29-year-old outfielder earned $470,000 last season while batting .268/.327/.441 with six home runs, 28 RBI and eight stolen bases over 197 plate appearances.

The Phillies haven’t added a right-handed hitting outfielder this winter, so Francisco should be primed for more playing time in 2011, likely as part of a timeshare with top prospect Domonic Brown in right field.

With Francisco signed, Kyle Kendrick is the team’s only remaining arbitration-eligible player.

The Giants are considering Pablo Sandoval at second base

AP Images
Leave a comment

Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.

It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.

Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.