The Cincinnati Reds have traded powerful corner infielder Juan Francisco to the Atlanta Braves for minor league righthander J.J. Hoover.
Francisco, a 24-year-old Dominican, has struggled to find playing time in Cincinnati due to his defensive shortcomings at third base in comparison to the eminently glovely Scott Rolen and his general shortcoming in comparison to Joey Votto at first. There’s no doubting Francisco’s power, however, he hit .307/.334/.540 with 15 home runs in 74 AAA games last year. He has a career .338 wOBA with five home runs in 181 big league plate appearances.
The two major problems with Francisco offensively are his inability to hit left-handed pitching and his poor approach at the plate. He has struck out in nearly 30% of his plate appearances while walking at barely half the league average.
Either way, the Braves need some depth at third base with Chipper Jones already on the DL and he should be good enough there to fill in occasionally while adding some much-needed pop off the bench once Jones is healthy.
Hoover, meanwhile, was a tenth-round pick of the Braves back in 2008 and has rounded into a nice pitching prospect. He split last year between double- and triple-A and had a 2.64 ERA in 105.2 innings between the two stops pitching out of both the rotation and the bullpen. Baseball America ranked Hoover the #12 prospect in the Braves system this year and is built like a workhorse standing at 6’3” and 230 pounds. BA thinks that Hoover has a fourth starter or seventh-inning reliever ceiling.
This is one of those small deals that seems insignificant, but if Jones can’t stay healthy this year in Atlanta, Francisco may end up an everyday player on a contending team and if he improves his approach and figures out how to hit lefties, he could be a decent impact player.
Plus, he hits highly entertaining bombs:
And oh yeah, this:
And the rest:
Welp, the Yankees dynasty is over: Andy Pettitte’s legs are weak [George A. King III, New York Post].
The Red Sox have announced their starting rotation and Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard will occupy the final two spots behind Lester, Beckett and Buchholz. Alfredo Aceves will move back to the bullpen [Drew Silva, NBC Hardball Talk/Brian McPherson].
Drew Smyly has won the final rotation spot for Detroit with top prospect Jacob Turner expected to start the year in the DL with shoulder tendinitis [Detroit Free Press, Twitter].
Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez) has been suspended for six weeks by Major League Baseball for falsifying his identity [Barry Jackson, Miami Herald]. In other news, Bobby Jenks, Alex White and Miguel Cabrera have not been suspended by Major League Baseball.
Finally, the Blue Jays are playing the Pittsburgh Pirates today on the Network and they are facing Jeff Karstens. If the Jays’ hitters were focusing on his face, they’d be screwed. #DERP
Remember, if you want even more of the most entertaining baseball chatter delivered directly to you in your chosen form, follow Getting Blanked on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. Do the same over yonder at DJF (Twitter/Facebook).
Next time you hear from me, there’ll be actual for reals baseball being played. I am very excite.