Jeff Francoeur was cut by the Giants before the season was over last year. This after a disastrous 2013 season and a sub-par 2012 season. He’s in Indians camp now, likely with his las shot at the majors. Paul Hoynes spoke with him and he talked about what was ailing him at the end of the season:
“To put it mildly, I think I was depressed at the end of last year,” said Francoeur, in camp with the Indians on a minor-league deal. “My wife, Catie, and my family came up to see me in Washington when I was with San Francisco. I weighed 201 pounds. I weigh 220 now. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t taking care of myself . . . The last year and half to two years I haven’t had that much fun. I kind of missed the joy of coming to the yard. Hopefully, there is an opportunity here for me to contribute.”
Not surprising that when he played well baseball was fun. When he played poorly it wasn’t. It’s probably more sad to see Francoeur discouraged than most players because he has always had a far happier sense about him than most.
I’ve given Francoeur a lot of guff over the years. But I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone. And I’m hoping that he makes it work in Cleveland. Or, short of that, that he accepts an assignment to Columbus. I’d go to Huntington Park and cheer for him.
The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.
Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.
The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.
The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.