Outfielder Jeff Francoeur has had a penchant for timely hitting for the Phillies in semi-regular playing time this season. He hit a grand slam off of Madison Bumgarner earlier this season and drilled an insurance three-run home run on Friday against the Marlins.
He offered more heroics on Sunday, helping the Phillies finish off a sweep the reeling Fish. He singled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh after entering as a defensive replacement, but the Phillies lost their lead, going into the bottom of the ninth down 7-6. With Carlos Ruiz on base, Francoeur crushed a walk-off two-run home run off of closer A.J. Ramos into the left-field stands, a no doubter.
Francoeur has emerged as a potential trade chip for the Phillies. Despite a meager .257 average and .288 on-base percentage, he’s slugging .449 with eight home runs in 198 plate appearances.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).