Juan Francisco

Red Sox claim corner infielder Juan Francisco on waivers from Blue Jays

November 19, 2014 - 1:19 pm

The Red Sox announced that they've claimed corner infielder Juan Francisco off waivers from the Blue Jays. Francisco, 27, demonstrated considerable power when he made contact in 2014. In 106 games and 320 plate appearances, he hit .220/.291/.456 with 16 homers. However, he struck out in volume, whiffing in 36.3 percent of plate appearances. A massive (6-foot-2, 245 pounds) left-handed hitter, Francisco's offensive abilities are typically limited to right-handed pitchers. In his career, he's hit .248/.310/.476 with one homer in every 20 plate appearances against righties, with a .159/.213/.210 line and just one homer in 150 career plate appearances against lefties. In 2014, he hit .238/.306/.504 against righties (a 129 OPS+, meaning an OPS that was 29 percent better than the league against righties). Francisco gives the Sox a potential power-hitting corner infield depth option who bats left-handed -- a sort of platoon fallback to the free agent options such as Pablo Sandoval that the team is pursuing. That said, Francisco's defense is below average (he graded as seven runs below average at third base in 2014 according to Baseball Information Solutions), further limiting his value to that of a potential bench reserve. The Red Sox now have 36 players on their 40-man roster, with one day remaining prior to the deadline to add players to the 40 for the purposes of protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. Here's the press release from the Red Sox announcing the addition of Francisco: The Boston Red Sox today claimed infielder Juan Francisco off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement. Francisco, 27, played 106 games for the Blue Jays last season, batting .220 (63-for-287) with 16 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, and 43 RBI. A left-handed batter, 34 of his 63 hits went for extra bases. He averaged an extra-base hit every 11.8 at-bats, the ninth-best rate among American Leaguers with at least 300 plate appearances.  His 34 extra-base hits were the most in the majors among players with no more than 350 plate appearances. Francisco began 2014 with the Milwaukee Brewers and was released on March 24. He was signed by Toronto as a minor league free agent on April 1 and played 12 games for Triple-A Buffalo, batting .341 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, and 11 RBI.  Selected to the major league roster on April 19, he remained with the Blue Jays for the duration of the season. Against right-handed pitching, Francisco is a career .248 hitter (213-for-848) with 46 doubles, four triples, 47 home runs and 141 RBI. Defensively, Francisco has played both first and third base in the major leagues. The majority of his time has come at third base where he has played 197 games (161 starts), compared to 87 games (77 starts) at first. Over his major league career, the Dominican native has hit .236 (235-for-996) with 50 doubles, four triples, 48 home runs, and 152 RBI in 404 games for the Cincinnati Reds (2009-11), Atlanta Braves (2012-13), Milwaukee Brewers (2013), and Blue Jays (2014). With today'€™s transaction, Boston'€™s 40-man roster is at 36.