Phillies Trade Ben Francisco to Toronto
When one hears about the Phillies and Blue Jays making a trade, one can’t help but think of the Roy Halladay blockbuster, but the Phillies this time made a small, logical move. With a glut of outfielders on the roster, someone was eventually going to be squeezed out. After a disappointing 2011 season, that person was Ben Francisco. Per David Hale:
Francisco was the “other guy” that went with Lee from the Cleveland Indians back in July 2009. In his two and a half years in Philadelphia, Francisco was a capable back-up outfielder, hitting slightly better than the league average (.332 wOBA) with passable defense and base running. Overall, FanGraphs values him at 1.2 WAR in his 594 plate appearances with the Phillies, which is between replacement level and average. Given that the Phillies paid him less than $2 million, Francisco certainly paid for himself.
Francisco is arbitration-eligible for the second year. After earning $1.175 million in 2011, he was due for a slight raise. As mentioned in this post on Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies are operating with very little wiggle room between where they are at in terms of their payroll and the $178 million luxury tax. With two big items left on the agenda (Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels), saving a million dollars here and there goes a long way.
The Phillies received Frank Gailey from Toronto in return for Francisco. Gailey is a local product, having attended Archbishop Carroll High School and West Chester University. Drafted in 2007, he compiled impressive strikeout and walk rates before earning a promotion to Double-A New Hampshire last year. With New Hampshire, Gailey struggled as his strikeout rate plummeted and his walk rate shot up. In 30 innings, his ERA sat at an Adam Eaton-esque 5.70. Perhaps a change of scenery can change his fortune.