Ben Francisco exited yesterday’s game with a strained hamstring and today the Blue Jays placed him on the disabled list while recalling first baseman David Cooper from Triple-A.
Francisco has played sparingly for the Blue Jays, getting most of his starts versus left-handed pitching and hitting just .206 with a .535 OPS in 37 plate appearances.
Cooper has impressive Triple-A numbers, batting .347 with more walks (89) than strikeouts (62) in 162 total games there dating back to last season, but Las Vegas is an extremely hitter-friendly environment and his lofty average comes with just 15 homers in 730 plate appearances.
He’s also 25 years old, has never played a position other than first base, and struggled in 27 games for the Blue Jays last season. He could get an extended look at first base following Adam Lind’s demotion to the minors last week, although that would involve manager John Farrell having to juggle the rest of the lineup a bit.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.