Monday, March 11, 2013

Ben Francisco, Pick Up a White Courtesy Phone

The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported via Twitter that the Yankees have signed veteran outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal.

The 6-year veteran had been signed to a minor league deal by the Cleveland Indians in January, but was released earlier in the day. Yankees GM Brian Cashman was quick to pounce on another possibility for the Yankees outfield, which is missing Curtis Granderson until May.

The 31-year old showed promise early in his career with Cleveland when he slugged 15 home runs in back to back seasons (2008-2009) and topped .770 in OPS both years. Those were the only two seasons in which Francisco had more than 400 plate appearances.

He was dealt to Philadelphia at the 2009 trade deadline along with the center piece of the deal, Cliff Lee. Francisco had an .843 OPS and drove in 13 runs in 37 games after the deal, but was 0-11 in the post-season. That included an 0-7 skid when the Phillies lost to the Yankees in the World Series.

Francisco's output and playing time began to diminish the following season and culminated in 2012 when he played for three different organizations (Blue Jays, Astros, Rays) and had a sub .700 OPS with all of them.

Francisco will compete with veterans Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, and youngsters like Melky Mesa and Ronnier Mustelier for a spot on the team. Mustelier is also being looked at as a possibility for third base, a position he played  while in Cuba.

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