The Phillies' future begins this offseason, but the team is already getting a leg up on its long winter.
- Step 1: Don't re-hire Ruben Amaro
- Step 2: Do hire Pete Mackanin
- Step 3: Jeff Francoeur
While Andy MacPhail cracks open his office door and hurriedly beckons his mystery GM candidate inside while whispering hints of gender obscurity, there is one facet of his operation that he is going about with far less secrecy. That is the maintaining of 32-year-old journeyman bench bat Jeff Francoeur - this information coming from a reliable source on the subject of "Jeff Francoeurt":
"There's mutual interest in me coming back. They've got a lot going on in the front office with the general manager search, with Pete (Mackanin) taking over as manager. Like anything else, there will be an appropriate time to address it, but there's mutual interest."
Frenchy (.257/.287/.427 in 324 PA) is flailing, ball-chasing proof that you don't need to be a .300 hitter to keep a team interested. On some teams, you barely have to be a hitter at all, as long as they've got space on the bench, young players to inspire, and a shortage of friendly smiles. If Francoeur wasn't here, who would reporters go to for a quote on anything?
Like, anything. Jeff Francoeur seems like he would talk to you about anything. There aren't many guys in the mood to chat and talk about the team's thoughts after a whirlwind loss, but Francoeur always conveys messages that sound like the group has developed at least some kind of unity and that they all care as much as he does.
Not only did Francoeur enjoy a brief couple of days as the most popular boy in school this summer, he couldn't even get thrown out of a game, despite shouting at an umpire and coming out of the dugout, because as one of the umpires explained, "We love Frenchy." He even calls his grandma.
So you can get why a team about to fill their clubhouse with big-eyed, clueless younglings would want some of their players' first major league influences to come from a teddy bear like Francoeur, even if he doesn't play every day, and when he does play it sometimes looks like this.