August 24, 2012; Boston, MA USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur (21) in the dugout during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

How bad can he be?

Jeff Francoeur is likely going to be a Kansas City Royals player when opening day 2013 rolls around. After a dismal 2012, and being under contract for one more year at a salary of $6.5 million, I just don’t see any way around it.

How bad can he really be? Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

There are rumors out there that teams are calling Dayton Moore regarding some bullpen arms, and that Moore is willing to trade an arm only if that team will take Frenchy as well. I’m not sure how likely that scenario is…but that’s the word. Of course this would be ideal as it would not only clear a nice chunk of payroll for Moore to allocate to more pressing areas of need (you know…like PITCHING) but it would also remove the roadblock in front of top prospect Wil Myers.

Of course, there are also rumors swirling that Moore is listening to offers on the impact bats, such as Myers, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, and Alex Gordon. Ideally…I’d like to see the Royals add pitching, remove Frenchy, and keep all those players I just mentioned. However, to receive a pitcher who’s proven they can pitch at the big league level, is still young and under team control for a few years, and a guy who could be an ace – it’s highly likely that someone like Myers would be the price, which leaves us with Frenchy as the right fielder for 2013.

I know it sounds bad. But with the potential upgrade to the rotation, how bad is it really, to be stuck with another year of Francoeur?

For his career, according to Fangraphs, he has accumulated a WAR of 10 over an eight-year career. That works out to him being a player with about a 1.3 WAR on average. Most of his career value was accumulated over the span of three seasons of course, putting up solid numbers of 3.8, 3.2, and 2.9 WAR. That last number most of you will remember well, as it came during his first year in KC, back in 2011.

With those three big years subtracted from the equation, Frenchy is a much less attractive player of course, but still not generally a guy who plays as terrible as the -1.2 WAR of 2012 suggests. He’s only had one other year of negative value, back in 2008, when he posted a -0.8 WAR and had similar numbers to 2012 when comparing OBP and SLG.

Looking over his career, Francoeur is not a great player, but has generally been a solid (yet unspectacular) player. He generally contributes at least some kind of positive value to his team. I’m not saying he’s a guy to get excited about. Not remotely. But he is a guy that should play better than what we witnessed in 2012. If I had to guess, I’d say he’ll come out in 2013 and probably hit about .260 or so, with horrible plate discipline as usual, and maybe hit about 15 homers. Will he return to his 20/20 numbers of 2011? Hell no.  But I doubt he hits .230 either.

Matt Moore – worth the price of Myers? Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Look, I’m not defending the guy. Well, maybe a little. The truth is, I’d like to see him gone just as much as 99.9% of the rest of you. But…if Dayton Moore is able to strike a deal with a team like Tampa…something like Wil Myers for Matt Moore…I mean, that’s hard to turn down, right? Moore is signed to a very team friendly contract and under control through 2019. He looks like a potential ace, which we desperately need in KC. Wouldn’t we have to bite the bullet and recognize maybe the team would be better off with a young ace and one more year of Frenchy?

A 2013 starting rotation led by Moore, Jeremy Guthrie, and Ervin Santana looks pretty good. Add in a guy like Luis Mendoza and maybe Bruce Chen until Jake Odorizzi proves he’s ready…that’s a pretty legitimate rotation. It’s good enough that we could squeeze Luke Hochevar completely out of the picture.

Yes, it would be tough to see a talent like Myers crushing the ball in another uniform. But he may be the only chip we have that can land a pitcher of Moore’s caliber. If fans want to see Moore pull of a trade for big time arm, it might be time to say goodbye to Myers. But in the right deal, it’s worth it. I mean…how bad can one more year of Frenchy really be?

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Tags: Jeff Francoeur Kansas City Royals Wil Myers

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