Kevin Frandsen still unhappy with how things ended with Phillies

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In March 2011, the Phillies signed Kevin Frandsen to a minor league deal. He performed well enough with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but the Phillies didn’t have a use for him. He stuck around with the Phillies on another minor league deal in 2012 and earned a call-up in late July, hitting .338 with an .834 OPS in 210 plate appearances. In 2013, his overall production tailed off significantly, but he led the league in pinch-hits with 14.

While he wasn’t exactly starter material, he was a quality bench bat or, if the Phillies cared about things like platoon splits, a good platoon bat given his career .771 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Stunningly, the depth-lacking Phillies couldn’t find room for Frandsen on their bench going into 2014, opting to cut him towards the end of March. Frandsen became a free agent and signed with the Nationals on a one-year, $900,000 contract a few days later.

Frandsen still isn’t happy about the way things ended with the Phillies. He says he was blindsided by their decision to cut him. Via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

“I was pissed,” said Frandsen, looking back at the Phillies’ decision. “I earned my way to being on the bench, to being a vital part over there. That’s what I thought and that’s the feeling I have and I’m going to go with it.”

[…]

“I don’t care what it was on timing and circumstance,” Frandsen said. “I earned my way. I earned my right to have that contract. I went about it the right way to be on that team over there. It didn’t happen.”

Frandsen, who led the majors with 14 pinch hits for the Phillies in 2013, has found happiness in Washington.

“We’re four games over .500 here, and I’m loving that,” he said. “I’m loving winning.”

Frandsen has performed well for the Nationals, carrying a .714 OPS into Friday’s action. Meanwhile, Phillies pinch-hitters have slashed .194/.257/.387. They have had MLB-worst production out of third basemen Cody Asche, Freddy Galvis, and Jayson Nix with an aggregate .478 OPS. Outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. has the highest OPS among the team’s bench players at .673.

As Adam Kilgore wrote in his column on the subject, “It’s hard to imagine Frandsen wouldn’t be one of the Phillies’ best 25 players.” In fact, Frandsen might’ve been one of the top-ten most productive players on the Phillies’ current roster.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.