Jarrod Dyson is rehabbing in Omaha right now, and will soon be returning to the Royals. It is likely that this means David Lough will be heading back to the farm since he was called up to replace Dyson. This is problematic though, since Lough has proven that he belongs on this team.
The main reason for keeping Jeff Francoeur around would be to play him against left handed pitching. Both Lough and Dyson are left handed and Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordonare playing every day. That makes Frenchy the right handed bat of the other three outfield options. This thinking only makes sense so far as Jeff can hit lefties. Throughout his career he
has done it to the tune of .288/.339/.437, but last year this skill disappeared. He only hit .225/.307/.388 last year against lefties and this year has a little better average with no power .255/.296/.333, which is just not playable. Jeff Francoeur is also a very slow outfielder who gets to nothing. His only major league skill at this point is his right arm that can still throw with a lot of power and accuracy.
Lough, on the other hand, can do almost everything. He will never be a star, but he plays very good defense, runs reasonably well, can hit, and has a little bit of pop. Watch this video and this videoboth from the last week, and tell me you wouldn’t rather have him in the outfield than Frenchy. Actually, I think he might be better out there than Dyson too. If the Royals only played Gordon, Cain, Dyson, and Lough this outfield would be one of the best in the majors defensively day in and day out. Then the only problem becomes one extra left handed bat in lieu of Francoeur’s when facing a left handed pitcher.
There may be no platoon advantage in this case though. Last year Lough did struggle against left handed pitching in triple-A posting a .229/.273/.403 line, but so far this year he is hitting .317/.404/.390 against same-sided competition in the minors. That is likely in part a function of a small sample, but remember that he only has to be equal to Francoeur’s lackluster .333 slugging percentage and has bettered it so far in the big leagues against lefties this year too, albeit in only 6 PAs. If there is no platoon advantage, the better player should be on the team and that is David Lough both at the plate and in the field.
If Lough is kept, it means someone else has to go. There are really only three options. Send Chris Getz down and play Elliot Johnson every day at second base. This won’t work because you would have no back up for second or short. The second option is to send Mike Moustakas down and let Johnson and Miguel Tejada take care of third base. That has some potential, but I don’t get the feeling that Moose is heading anywhere. So, we come to the third option, waive Jeff Francoeur. George Brett has said it already, it is time to grow up. If you cannot play you should not have a spot on the team. Frenchy is not a major league baseball player anymore. He is still owed approximately $4.5 million, but it is in the team’s best interest to pay him the money without his hurting the team by playing too. As a bonus it will show the young players how serious the front office is. If you cannot play we have no space for you.