Franceour is something you can’t naturally spell. You have to memorize it or spend a lot of time with copy and paste ready. It’s a tough name.
At age 21, Jeff Franceour took the baseball world by storm with a stellar rookie season. A .300 batting average and a gold glove out in right field projected one of the games newest stars.
Unfortunately, it took only three and half seasons for Atlanta to trade the player affectionately known as “Frenchy.” Off to the Mets for Ryan Church then to Texas for Joaquin Arias. After that it was Kansas City through free agency and then tossed around baseball through San Francisco, Cleveland and San Diego before finding actual playing time with the Phillies in 2015. 119 Games were his first season in triple digit appearances and his highest total since 2013 between the Royals and the Giants.
Frenchy wasn’t great, but he was good enough in Philadelphia to earn a Spring Training invite in 2016.
On February 24th, the intruiging career of Jeff Franceour came full circle when he signed a Minor League deal with the Atlanta Braves, back where he got started. Current Brave Nick Swisher says — in definite Nick Swisher speak– “you’re a legend around here, bro.”
That he is, despite what some around the league think of his career, he has a cult following in Atlanta and might as well be a Superhero there. Or I guess legend works, sorry Swish!
Franceour finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2005 (future Phillies teammate Ryan Howard won) and earned a Gold Glove in 2007.
Like the Phillies team he played for last year in getting his career back on track, Atlanta is in complete rebuild and full of young talent. This works against the 32-year old former 1st Round Pick in several ways, but works in his favor in one big reason in particular.
Franceour is known as a fantastic teammate and has great locker room presence. That combined with his positive history and reputation in Atlanta give him an increased chance, although admittedly still a long shot, to make the Braves roster.
Due to a salary motivated trade with Cleveland last year that saw the Braves acquire two outfielders –Michael Bourn and Swisher, it’s hard to predict a roster spot for Franceour. Neither Bourn or Swisher even project as starters, with Hector Olivera moving to the outfield, Nick Markakis returning from injury and the newly acquired Ender Inciarte holding down an everyday spot. On top of that the Braves have some outfield capable utility men in Kelly Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio.
The odds may not be in Jeff Franceour’s favor, and this could end up just being a nice move for nostalgia and memories, but we’ve seen crazier things happen in baseball with teams in situations like Atlanta.