San Diego, CA- The San Diego Padres have signed veteran outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a Minor League deal.
Francoeur provides the Padres proven Major League depth in the minor leagues and will begin the season in Triple-A El Paso.
Francoeur whose only 30 years old spent the entire spring with the Cleveland Indians after signing a minor league deal and hit .286 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 39 at-bats for the Indians. Unfortunately for Francoeur that wasn’t enough to make the team, as the Indians released him last Saturday.
Francoeur is a career .263 hitter with 140 home-runs and 618 RBI’s in his nine year Major League career with the Braves, Mets, Rangers, Royals and Giants.
Francoeur has had an up and down career so far, after being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft out of high school. Francoeur advanced quickly through the Braves minor league system and was at one point the Braves top prospect. Francoeur made his Major League debut in the second half of the 2005 season and finished the season batting .300 with 14 home runs and 44 RBIs. Francoeur’s break out season came in 2006 when he hit .260 with 29 homers and 103 RBIs in his first full season with the Braves. The following season Francoeur hit .293 with 19 home-runs, 105 RBI’s and won his first career Gold Glove.
Francoeur struggled mightily in the 2008 season and was eventually sent down to Double-A and didn’t return to the majors till the end of the season.
Francoeur spent a few seasons with the Mets and Rangers as a utility outfielder, until he became a starter again with the Kansas City Royal’s in 2011 and seemed to return to his previous form batting .285 with 20 home-runs and 87 RBI’s for the Royals.
Francoeur’s career would once again take a downward turn from their as he struggled mightily with the Royals in 2012 and was released by the Royals in 2013. He signed with the San Francisco Giants after being released, but was released by the Giants at the end of the 2013 season.
With Francoeur the Padres know he has the ability to be an all-star caliber type of contributor at the Major League level, its just up to Francoeur to play consistent with the abiltity he posses and if the Padres can get just the 2012 version of Francoeur it will be boost to the team this season.