Posted on August 25, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
With the loss of right fielder Giancarlo Stanton to a groin injury that may or may not keep him out for the remainder of the regular seasons, the Miami Marlins were a little short in the outfield. To help rectify that issue, the Marlins have acquired outfielder Jeff Francoeur as part of a three-team trade.
In the trade, the Marlins get Francoeur from the Atlanta Braves, while the Braves receive minor league shortstop Dylan Moore from the Texas Rangers and minor league catcher Matt Foley from the Marlins. Meanwhile, the Rangers will receive two international signing slots, one from the Braves and one from the Marlins.
Of course, Francoeur is the highlight of the deal. The trade ends his second tenure with the Braves, with whom he began his big league career in 2005. “It’s hard. He’s a great kid. He’s one of the finest human beings I’ve ever been around,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said about Francoeur. “We’ll miss him. He’s going to play meaningful games, good for him.” Francoeur signed a minor league contract with the Braves this year but made the big league club after a strong performance in spring training. He now joins a team fighting for the second wild card spot in the National League.
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“He’s been great for our young kids and has been great on the field as well,” said Braves assistant GM Billy Ryan. “Unfortunately, the circumstances of where we are as an organization, the Marlins are in contention, they’re going for it, so it was an opportunity for him to get some meaningful at-bats and hopefully get in the postseason.”
Francoeur figures to split time in right field with Ichiro Suzuki, who has had a strong season as Miami’s fourth outfielder. “Once the injury to [Stanton] happened, we felt like we wanted to get a right-handed-hitting outfielder we felt could give us some offensive punch against left-handed pitching, and occasionally spell Ichiro” explained Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill.
Stanton is hoping he’ll be able to return this season, but whether that happens remains uncertain. “”We knew losing Giancarlo that we were going to have to score runs a different way,” Hill said. “We’ve been hot and cold, thus far. We felt like bringing Francoeur over would be a nice spark and hopefully get our offense going.”
Francoeur also brings strong defensive play to Miami’s outfield. He may not have the arm strength that Stanton has, but there should not be a huge drop off in Miami’s outfield defense. Perhaps more importantly, a young Marlins team is getting a strong veteran presence for the stretch run. “We’re cognizant of what we bring into the clubhouse, and Jeff Francoeur, we’ve seen him from the other dugout,” Hill said. “He’s a tremendous teammate, and tremendous competitor, and he’s been through a lot in his career. We felt like he would fit in nicely with our group.”
With Stanton, first baseman Justin Bour, and starting pitchers Adam Conley and Wei-Yin Chen all on the DL, the Marlins have their work cut out for them. However, the addition of Francoeur should be helpful, whether Stanton is able to return to the team or not. The Marlins currently trail the St. Louis Cardinals by a game and a half for the second wild card spot, giving them, with Francoeur now on board, a lot to play for during the final month of the season.