2010 Winter Meetings: Day 1

The most juicy tidbit regarding the Indians from the first day of the Winter Meetings was the interest the Indians had in free agent outfielder Jeff Francoeur. Frenchy (as he's called) has a couple of things going for him: he has a fantastic outfield arm, and he hits left-handed pitching. But players come as package deals, so you're going to get some other not-so-nice things along with the lefty-mashing and assists: lots of strikeouts, not a lot of walks, and below-average range (as a guy in his mid-20s).

Now if he continues to hit left-handers, he'll have a job in baseball for awhile, and I think he's passed the point where teams are interested in him as a starter. Because the Indians are likely to run out an outfield with three left-handed starters, it makes sense to look for a right-handed fourth outfielder. With Brantley in left field, the Indians can afford to roster a reserve outfielder who can't play center.

But I see some concerns. One, Francouer hasn't been a true reserve outfielder before. Even with his offensive struggles, he's managed at least 450 at-bats each season since 2006. He has a .299/.343/.481 career line versus left-handed pitching, but can he maintain that line playing a couple times a week for an American League team? He played a month with Texas this past season, but he got 53 at-bats in 15 games, including 5 consecutive starts. And also, there's the transition Francoeur would have to make from right to left field. A minor quibble, but it would be an adjustment for him, and his arm is less valuable stashed in left. I'd have no problem giving him a minor-league deal with an NRI, but would think long and hard giving him a major-league deal.

New Indians.com beat reporter Jordan Bastian had a couple of interesting tidbits, including an positive updates on Grady Sizemore and Carlos Santana.

After I wrote those paragraphs on Jeff Francouer, I find out from Paul Hoynes that the Indians aren't interested. Good for the Indians, bad for my fingers. Hoynes also reported that the Indians are interested in former Jackass Chien-Ming Wang.

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