Jeff Francoeur is on his way back to the major leagues, this time with the San Diego Padres. The reason behind Francoeur’s call up is the result of Cameron Maybin‘s twenty-five game suspension for amphetamines.
Francoeur’s career arch has been an interesting one to say the least. He debuted nine years ago at the age of 21 for the Atlanta Braves, where through seventy games showed the promise of being a future star. In his next two season that promise continued to show, with greater power numbers in 2006 and a Gold Glove in 2007.
However while the success came early, it proved to be a small sample size as the next part of his career has been defined by relocation and release to different clubs in both the American and National Leagues. From 2010 to 2013, Francoeur bounced around from the Mets to the Rangers, then to the Royals before finally ending up in San Francisco with the Giants for the remainder of the 2013 season. There were a number of minor league stints in between as well.
It seemed at the start of this season that it was most likely a pipe dream that Francoeur was to be playing in the Major League uniform at some point this season for the San Diego Padres, but here he is back in the show. In March, he signed a minor league deal with the Padres to get his career back on track and would report to the El Paso Chihuahuas of the Pacific Coast League.
With El Paso Francoeur, through ninety-eight games before his call up, would hit for a stat line of .294/.325/.465. He would also hit fifteen home runs and drive in sixty RBI’s. While its not a miraculous comeback, it does show that he was working hard to get back to what he could have been.
The other highlight in El Paso for Francoeur was his decision to take up pitching. In seven relief appearances, Francoeur finished with an ERA of 4.26 and struck out four while walking three. He will probably be an outfielder for the Padres, but if they need that extra inning pitcher, he could do it.
While his numbers were average when compared to other PCL batters, they are still quite below average compared to Major League hitters. While he’s a nice guy and great to have in the clubhouse, Francoeur is not the ballplayer that he even remotely once was.
He could, however, be with the Padres for the remainder of the season as the team looks to be in an all out sell mode following the departures of Huston Street and Chase Headley. So even though the move was made in response to Maybin’s suspension, it looks that Francoeur will holding down some area of the outfield for the rest of the season. If not using him in the outfield, San Diego should take a shot at having him pitch, there would really be no harm to it.