May 6, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur (21) cannot make the catch in right field in the sixth inning of the game against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Designate Jeff Francoeur for Assignment; Johnny Giavotella Recalled

After the Royals loss to Minnesota on Saturday, the Royals announced that they were designating Jeff Francoeur for assignment. That removes him from the active and 40 man roster. The Royals have ten days to trade him, release him, or try to send him to the minors.

To fill his spot on the roster, Johnny Giavotella was recalled and Dayton Moore stated that he would be coming up to play second base regularly. Giavotella had been playing in the outfield as well as at third base, but his natural position is second base.

The move makes sense for many reasons. First, with Jarrod Dyson back, the Royals were carrying three outfielders and just one backup infielder. After optioning Chris Getz to Omaha, the reins to second base were turned over to Elliot Johnson, who hasn’t done much of anything unless facing his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays. Miguel Tejada is more optimally used as a second base or third base backup option.

Second, Francoeur just wasn’t cutting it. He had a great 2011 as a free agent for the Royals. But in 2012, his poor plate discipline caught up to him and he dropped 50 points in batting average and on base percentage and 100 points in slugging percentage. He also was slower in the field. This year, he’d lost playing time first to Dyson, then to David Lough after Dyson went on the disabled list.

Thus ends the tenure of a polarizing player in recent Royals history. Francoeur provided some veteran leadership, and while my personal thought is that those sorts of attributes are vastly overrated by broadcasters and front offices, I don’t think it was inconsequential. Francoeur had been hyped as ‘The Natural” while with the Braves, and that experience as a super-prospect and then as a flop. He seemed to be close with teammates and many fans liked him. As a personality, he was fine. There was Bacon Tuesday and the Frenchy Quarter. But he just wasn’t playing well and the Royals, already four games under .500, just can’t take an anchor on their lineup like Francoeur.

Add to that the solid play of David Lough and the potential of Lorenzo Cain and it was clear that only a significant turnaround was going to save Francoeur. Still, Dayton Moore was instrumental in signing Francoeur with Atlanta and it was one of the least surprising moves in recent baseball history when the Royals signed Frenchy in the winter of 2010. Remember, there were rumors of the Royals trading for Francoeur before they signed him as well, so he was on the Royals’ radar for a while.

Francoeur’s last at bat was a foul tip strikeout while pinch-hitting in the ninth inning on Saturday.

His final line for the Royals works out to a .254/.301/.716 with 39 homers over 359 games. His post-2011 numbers, though, are pretty bad – .229/.278/.365 with 19 homers in 206 games. It was time.

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Tags: Jeff Francoeur Johnny Giavotella Kansas City Royals

  • jimfetterolf

    It was time and predicted in the off-season that he had about ’til the ASB to return to 2011 form. He didn’t do it, Dyson and Lough are performing well, so no surprise.

    Best of luck to Frenchy, really enjoyed his enthusiasm, but he played himself out of a job. Maybe he clears waivers and takes a minor league assignment and starts transitioning into a Jason Kendall role, as his physical skills are decaying.

    Now we can start worrying about Cain, who seems to have hit a rough spot. It will always be something, just the nature of the game and of life.

    • Jeff Parker

      Cain is struggling mightily. Since his dramatic home run against Detroit he’s hit just .119/.196/.190 in 46 plate appearances. I think he’ll be fine, but yeesh, he looks absolutely lost right now.

      • jimfetterolf

        Sometimes the worst thing a player can do is hit a homer. I’m thinking Getzie was looking good until he went yard.

  • Dave Lowe

    This article is severely understated. Francoeur was perhaps the WORST position player in baseball for 1.5 years. It was a monumentally POOR decision by Dayton Moore to resign him for 2 years. Maybe 1 year after his 2011, but not 2.

    Good riddance. This is exactly what I was hoping would happen. Getz gone, Giavotella in, Johnson to the bench, and Frenchy gone.

    The only problem? It took WAY too long. Why? Because they had to save face and get their money’s worth for Francoeur’s horrible $6.5M contract.

    • Michael Engel

      I figure he gets beat up enough. One night with the gloves off is the polite thing to do.

      At least for the moment.

    • jimfetterolf

      It took just long enough to allow David Lough to show he was a viable option. At the moment we have Lough, Shields, Davis, and a UIF in exchange for Wil Myers, so looks like it worked out well enough.

      Frenchy joins Getz, Yuni, Jon Sanchez, and Kyle Davies as players Dayton Moore would never get rid of because he’s not willing to admit a mistake. Now we get to see if Gio can finally stick on his fifth or sixth try or if he’s another mistake. I would have brought Irving Falu or Tony Seratelli up.

      • Jeff Parker

        Seratelli and Gio have pretty similar AAA numbers this year. I guess when in doubt, go with the guy who’s 5 years younger.

      • Dave Lowe

        I completely agree with everything you wrote.

      • formerbagger

        I believe Sanchez was actually traded for Guthrie, which ranks as one of Moore’s better moves.

        • Michael Engel

          The point Jim is trying to make is that there’s some vast online group that comes up with talking points to follow. It’s really great because we get robes and free pizza at each monthly meeting.

          My rebuttal is that Moore held on to all of those players far longer than anyone else would have and far longer than he should have when it had grown apparent that they weren’t going to be reliable options at the big league level. With Yuni, he not only held on through two full seasons and change, he re-signed him.

          Davies was toast well before he was cut and everyone knew it. Yuni was toast well before he was traded off, then, when he was re-signed, it was pretty easy to think that he hadn’t changed as a player and that it would be a disaster and it took way too long for that experiment to end as well. Getz isn’t my favorite but he’s had moments, at least and wasn’t the dumpster fire the other two were. Sanchez, I can *kind* of get why they held out a bit, since he was a starter who’d only had a few starts with the team, but he was SO bad that he wore out his welcome very quickly with most anyone paying attention, except for those who were paid to be paying attention. He only came to his senses and cut the cord when it was just painfully obvious that he had to.