Jeff Francoeur is working with Charlie Manuel in Phillies camp. Good luck, Charlie.

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From Clearwater, news that Charlie Manuel is working with Jeff Francoeur. What are they working on?

The Phillies coaching staff wants Francoeur to cut down on his swing. Manuel told him that he looked as if he “wanted to hit the ball so bad” that he would often get himself in trouble by swinging at a bad pitch.

“That’s where that football mentality sometimes can hurt me,” said Francoeur, who was a high school football star. “Being able to tone that down starts in the cage. If you’re swinging 80, 85 percent in the cage, that keeps carrying over. When you get to the game, it will take over and go.”

This is now year 11, I think, of Francoeur talking about cutting down on his swing and being more selective. He always talks about it as if it’s just a matter of a slight mental adjustment, but it has never, ever taken. He could have 30 or 40 more spring trainings and give 30 or 40 more interviews about how he’s going to change his approach and it will make no difference. He is what he is. You could sooner expect water to cease being wet than you can expect Frenchy to stop swinging himself out of his sneakers if a ball is within a mile of the strike zone.

Which, on some messed up level, is kind of beautiful. It’s a testament to perseverance and focus. Of a sort. To thine own self be true, Jeff.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.