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.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.