Toronto Blue Jays Sign Juan Francisco To Minor League Deal, Eyebrows Raise


Mar 3, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Juan Francisco (21) hits an RBI single against the Chicago Cubs during the fifth inning at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays collected their first win of 2014 on Tuesday night, but it was another move later that evening that was raising some eyebrows. According to Hector Gomez of ZDeportes, the Blue Jays have inked infielder Juan Francisco to a minor league deal.

Ha, I love embedding Spanish tweet, makes the readers work a little harder. Did I just break the fourth wall? Oh well.

The 26-year-old El Diamante spent the 2013 split between the Altanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers, spending time at both third and first base. In 124 games, the big-bodied infielder slashed .227/.296/.422 with 18 home runs, 48 RBI, and a 138/32 K/BB ratio. He also enjoyed a solid spring, hitting .346 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI, but was released by the Brewers on March 24th in a roster pinch that allowed Milwaukee to add Mark Reynolds.

The real question here is what the Toronto Blue Jays see in him and where they desire to put him. The most obvious answer to the first is depth, as the team has learned the hard way that you cannot have enough of it in this day and age. However, he seems to me to be a somewhat redundant piece. His size limits him to a corner infield slot, and his range limits him mostly to first base and designated hitter. In Buffalo, he’ll likely share duties with Dan Johnson, who also happens to bat from the left side.

However, maybe the Blue Jays are anticipating an opt out by Johnson at some point early this season and want to prepare themselves.

Still just 26, Francisco has decent upside, as his career .189 ISO and a six-year minor league stat line of .286/.317/.502 with 112 home runs can attest to. Perhaps he’s a reclamation project?

I don’t know. I’m just throwing darts here, but I’m intrigued nonetheless.