By Sam Bush
As major league baseball GMs gather in Florida, new Phillies exec Matt Klentak has a lot on his mind.
But the fans are curious about what will become of their fave Jeff Francoeur.
Here’s what MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki thinks:
Francoeur indicated that he would like to return to Philly, and it makes sense for the Phillies to try. And not because the Phils can’t find a better bat than Francoeur, although he hit 13 home runs with 45 RBIs and a .718 OPS in 343 plate appearances in 2015.
I think Francoeur’s greatest value is his ability to influence a clubhouse full of young players on a rebuilding team that likely will be expected to lose more than it wins in 2016. Francoeur is high energy. He is positive. He gets along with everybody, crossing cultural divides in the clubhouse. Francoeur is a vocal leader, too — something the Phillies’ clubhouse needs.
Could the Phils find a more SABR-friendly veteran outfielder this offseason? Sure, but Francoeur is the type of player that could pay off in different ways in a few years. He can show the Phils’ young players how to work and act like a professional. Francoeur can show them how to get through slumps and losing streaks, etc. Those things seem more valuable to me at this point than another veteran outfielder who might be able to win an extra game in 2016, in what remains a lengthy rebuilding process.