Jeff Francoeur wants to be part of the Royals’ future

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Bob Dunn has a story in the Kansas City Star about Jeff Francoeur’s place in the world at the trading deadline. Short version: he would prefer not to go:

“People keep asking me about it,” he said. “And what I say is I’m sure if a team came to the Royals and overwhelmed them (with an offer) for me or Melky (Cabrera), they’d probably have to do it. But you know what? I think a lot of us will be here … At some point,” Francoeur said, “we’ll talk to Dayton about the option. Maybe get a two- or three-year deal or something. I’ve told Dayton that I like it here. I’d love to stay here … Because … let’s say you trade me and Melky, you’re just starting over. If you’re trying to build something to go to the next level, at some point you’ve got to make a stand and keep guys.”

After a fast start, Francoeur is basically at his pedestrian career norms. Given how he always starts fast when he changes teams, you’d think he’d love a trade!

In all seriousness, though, the Royals are in a rather interesting position with this guy.  Contrary to what he implies, he is not one of those veterans a team regrettably lets go, suggesting no commitment to the future and he is not one of the guys whose retention would signal a brave new course for the Royals. It’s not Carlos Beltran circa 2004.

But he’s also not useless. In spring training I talked to some people at Royals camp who said they’d be utterly shocked to see him stay in Kansas City past 2011, but it’s not crazy that he could.  Maybe not on that $4 million option, but some way. There’s value to having a guy fill a position in a middling-to-average way. One less thing to worry about.

The key is what, if anything, a team would offer for him here at the deadline.  I have a hard time seeing someone offering a prospect who could be a starter in the next year or two. And if Dayton Moore can get no better — if it’s an organizational arm or some less-talented toolsy future corner outfielder —  isn’t having an amiable, partially useful and happy guy like Francoeur filling the hole preferable?