The Giants have signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a minor-league contract, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Following his release Sunday from Kansas City after struggling for most of the last two seasons, “Frenchy” will join Triple-A Fresno and await promotion.
Francouer is just 29 but has already had a turbulent major-league career, with the Royals as the fourth team that has given up on the right-handed hitter. Since signing a 3-year, $16 million deal in KC, Francoeur produced only the first season. As the everyday right fielder, he hit 20 home runs and posted a .285 batting average. In the season-and-a-half since, Francoeur has failed to match that home run total and his batting average has slipped to the Mendoza Line.
The outfielder’s arm is the stuff of legend, but his defensive metrics have been wildly inconsistent when they haven’t been just plain bad. The Giants have been a mess in left field all season, but Frenchy’s career numbers don’t indicate that he will be a significant upgrade over Andres Torres. But the Giants are toying with fringe prospect Cole Gillespie at the moment, which makes the Francoeur signing an inevitability rather than an option.
Caveat emptor. FanGraphs’ Wendy Thurm pointed out on Twitter today that Francoeur has played just 12 innings in the outfield in the majors.
Aside from all of that, the minor-league deal will not burden the Giants, as Kansas City is picking up nearly all of the $6.75 he is owed for the 2013 season. Brian Sabean has won two titles and become the longest-tenured general manager by squeezing rocks and finding out they were gold nuggets.
Stay gold, Frenchy.