Phillies Want Jeff Francoeur Back in 2016
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that the Phillies and outfielder Jeff Francoeur have mutual interest in a reprisal role in 2016. Francoeur signed with the Phillies on a minor league deal in November and made the Opening Day roster out of spring training, earning a $950,000 salary.
If Francoeur were to return to the Phillies again next season, he would likely be able to negotiate a major league contract, but he wouldn’t earn much more than $1 or $2 million. This year, he’s put up slightly below average numbers, slashing .257/.287/.427 for an adjusted OPS (OPS+) of 92, below the average of 100. Factor in his defense and he’s been worth one win below a replacement level player.
The Phillies wouldn’t be bringing Francoeur back next year for his production, however. As Salisbury writes, Francoeur has been “a much-needed veteran voice in the clubhouse and mentor to younger players”. In essence, he would be more like a second bench coach with a spot on the 25-man roster. There’s value in that for the Phillies, given the newfound youth throughout the organization. Francoeur is respected and well-liked in the clubhouse and could bridge any hierarchical divide between the players and coaches, as he has done this year.
Francoeur wouldn’t be taking up a roster spot nor the playing time of a more deserving player. Giving him a contract in 2016 would be a solid, forward-thinking move by the Phillies. It’s not something they need to do, but their fifth outfielder next year wouldn’t be much better in terms of on-field value anyway without all of the other benefits Francoeur provides.