The Red Sox today, according to the proverbial multiple outlets, claimed corner infielder Juan Francisco off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Francisco had 320 plate appearances for the Blue Jays last season hitting at a .220/.291/.456 clip with 16 homers and 43 RBI, making 57 starts at third base and 15 at first base.
Rumors are flying all over the Twitterverse that the Red Sox are the front-runners to sign Pablo Sandoval so the move to grab Francisco would seem to be a just-in-case sort of move. If Sandoval does sign in Boston, the Red Sox can simply release Francisco who is likely to make about 2.2 million dollars in arbitration.
Toronto rode a hot streak by Francisco last May, which saw him hammer seven homers, drive in 20 runs and post a slash line of .284/.365/.649. A good chunk of Francisco’s damage was done against the Red Sox in 2014, posting a similar line for the season against them, with three homers, nine RBI and a 1.032 OPS against them in 45 plate appearances.
Francisco gets most of his action against right handers, seeing only 49 plate appearances against lefties, for good reason it would seem since his OPS stood at .390 for the season. The former Blue Jay has just one homer in 150 career plate appearances vs. lefties with an OPS of .423 (.786 vs. righties). Francisco has had major league stops in Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Atlanta before last season, posting a .736 OPS in 404 games, the majority of which have been at third base.
In the end, this move is a good hedge against the rest of the market, a guy with some pop (34 homers in 705 plate appearances over last two seasons), who might have a place on the Red Sox next season, but at very little risk to the team at the moment.