Royals designate Jeff Francoeur for assignment

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The Royals have designated outfielder Jeff Francoeur for assignment, reports Bob Dutton on Twitter. The veteran wasn’t producing at all, carrying a .574 OPS into today’s game against the Twins. He struck out in his only plate appearance of the day, pinch-hitting for Jarrod Dyson.

Francoeur is only 29 years old, but has followed up a season in which he posted negative 2.3 WAR with negative 0.8 through his team’s first 78 games. The Royals promoted Johnny Giavotella from Triple-A Omaha to take Francoeur’s place on the roster.

Francoeur hasn’t been as terrible in previous years and has a great reputation around baseball as a good clubhouse guy, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a couple teams expressed interest. Even using him in a platoon role is out of the question, though, as he has barely hit lefties better than righties over the last two seasons.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.