Just whenever things looked good for the Royals, when it seemed their deep farm system was ready to produce waves of big league quality players…they go and prove they’re still the Kansas City Royals after all.

Reports indicate the Royals signed Jeff Francoeur to a two-year contract extension, keeping him with the club through 2013. The terms are not yet available but the money shouldn’t really be the issue here.

The Royals had a chance to really show a positive gain with Francoeur. They acquired him for a mere pittance and he responded with an excellent season by his own, skewed, standards. Despite moonlighting as an easy punchline for bloggers and internet hacks (hi!), Francoeur is a dependable platoon guy with a strong arm.

Rather than converting Frenchy into something tangible at the trade deadline, Kansas City locks him in for two more years. The obvious question: why? The Royals scouting staff is clearly adept at locating talent and the team does a decent job of developing them up to the big league club. Why not let them flex those muscles?

As of right now, Frenchy is just short of Type B free agent designation, meaning the Royals would not be entitled to a compensatory draft pick if he left as a free agent.

The Royals and Francoeur held a mutual option for 2012, meaning Francoeur could elect for free agency and leave the Royals with nothing. After a strong season like 2011, somebody would ink Francoeur and the Royals would be left with only their rich, prosperous minor league system.

Perhaps hanging onto him at this time is a tidy bit of business? Not only will he help the club if he continues his strong (with a small-S) play in 2012, he could boost his own stock enough to net a worthwhile return at the deadline or play himself into Type B status.

Making fun of the Royals is easy (and fun) but this deal shouldn’t preclude them from taking care of any business next year. If the team makes a step forward and challenges in the AL Central next year — and the team uses him carefully — this could end up benefiting the Royals. I’ll begin hoarding canned goods, just in case.

Update: early reports (via Fangraphs) have the deal as 2 years, $13.5 million dollars. Doesn’t really change my opinion on the matter – could they find a better alternative at that price point? The answer is a definitive maybe.

Comments (11)

  1. If this were three years ago I’d have furiously tried to rosterbate Frenchy onto the Jays. Guy seems like he’d be fun to watch. Now, I think of our roster and there’s clearly no chance he’s better than anyone we have. Pretty amazing what the lineup’s done since we had Corey, Rajai, Nix and Cooper back in May.

  2. The Jays GM has made smart deals to sign developing talent for long term contracts and let them have time to bond. Will Toronto fans trust the process or demand a winner immediately? I think they will trust more now than in years past because of the exciting play that is on the field. Win or lose, the Jays have been in most games and have put out a good club each time. When you get days like Bautista and Rasmus sitting and you still win by a wide margin, things cannot be too too bad. Anything can happen. It’s fun to watch the Jays, moreso than a few years ago, when Halladay had to pitch to guarantee anything. Still got a while to go, but this process is working.

    As for KC fans, I’m not as informed on how they do business, so this article was a good read. Nobody wants to see a club be an embarrassment. Not exactly a draw to the ballpark when people know it’s an easy win for the opposition (or it could be for the opposing fans, I dunno). Anything KC can do to make them a contender in their division is good for baseball all around, in my opinion.

  3. This is what JP used to do with guys like Greg Myers, Stairs, McDonald and Frank Thomas.

    That said, maybe they have no RF prospects and expect to need a placeholder for a while yet?

    • I don’t think this move is that bad after they didn’t trade him. The lack of Type B status combined with the mutual option makes it a tight spot for the team that clearly “likes having him around.”

  4. Oh Em Gee….apparently the KC Star is reporting that the deal could be worth close to $16-million!!!!!!!!!! Colin Wyers is tweeting the craziness now @cwyers

    If this is true, someone needs to contract the Royals and give away all their prospects before the ruin everything

  5. 2 years $13.5 M as per Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Discuss.

  6. $13.5 million is truly ridiculous. Wouldn’t that money be better spent on locking up some of their younger prospects to long term deals (example Longoria)? His WAR the past 3 seasons before this: 0.6, 0.3 and -0.8. The Royals would be wise to fire their GM and keep their scouting.

  7. It’s a lot of money, but I like the signing. I’m a Royals fan from Yellowknife (I know, I know, it’s weird) and I follow the team as well as I can being all the way up here. Frenchy’s had a good year. He can hit, run and has an underrated arm in right field. The Royals are the youngest team in the majors and Francoeur is a great veteran clubhouse influence and he plays hard. 13.5 million over 2 years is a lot of money but he is a guy that Royals fans (all 17 of us) love. I like the look of a Gordon-Melky-Francoeur outfield and it just solidifies the strongest part of the team. They have a good line-up, they’re starting pitching is absolutely deplorable (when Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen are your horses, you’re in trouble), however. Danny Duffy might turn into something special, but I don’t see anyone else in the system that wows me. The bullpen is strong, outside normally strong Joakim Soria. Since the season is tanked anyway, I like the move to ensure the OF stays intact for the next couple years. If the Royals can snap up a couple reliable starters this off-season, they’ll compete for the AL Central title next year (hahahaha, that sounds so weird, but I actually believe it).

  8. I didn’t think even Drayton Moore could be this stupid.

    That’s the last time I underestimate Drayton Moore’s ability to shoot his own ballclub in the foot.

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