Francisco…that’s a fun namePosted: April 3, 2012
Braves swap JJ Hoover for Juan Francisco
Author’s note: I was going to write an article summarizing the weekend. Then the Braves traded for Francisco. Then they made some major roster adjustments. Then the signed Chad Durbin. I guess I have some work to do.
On Sunday, the Braves finalized a deal with the Cincinatti Reds to send young arm JJ Hoover to Cincinatti for third baseman Juan Francisco. Let me start by saying I love this trade, and I’m excited to see Francisco in a Braves jersey. Here’s why:
This kid can flat out hit the ball, as evidenced by this Paul Bunyan-style home run he let fly out of Great American Ball Park last September (seriously, watch this video). He’s also known to have an excellent arm, which will come in handy while filling in for Chipper over at third base (which, let’s be honest, could be for more than a few games). His numbers hold up as well at .286/.317/.502 for his minor league career, including 112 home runs and 419 RBI’s. He’s had limited opportunities at the major league level, appearing in 81 games over the last three seasons and producing a respectable .284/.331/.450 slash. On another club, Francisco may have already gotten an opportunity to play, but he’s been stuck behind Scott Rolen on the Red’s depth chart (I wonder if he’s met Chipper yet…).
On the flipside, his range is below average and he’s not too swift, adding another heavy-footed runner to a middle of the order that already features McCann, Freeman, and at times, Hinske (better keep the oxygen tank nearby in the dugout). Additionally, he has a bit of a personality issue, showing up to camp overweight and failing to properly rehab an old injury this offseason. Hopefully, the change of scenery will help.
This deal makes a lot of sense for the Braves. JJ Hoover showed a lot of potential in the minor leagues, posting a career 25-19 record with a 3.14 ERA, but with the laundry list of young arms ahead of him, he wasn’t likely to get a real shot at becoming a big league regular any time soon. The trade benefits both clubs, as the Reds get a promising young arm and the Braves provide some insurance for the injury-prone Chipper Jones over at third. Francisco also poses a potential option for the future at third base, and if he keeps mashing like he has in the past, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be manning the hot corner for seasons to come.
The only downside I can see to this deal is that it likely forces Drew Sutton off the roster, which is too bad because he certainly earned a spot on the big club this spring. From a practical standpoint, Sutton provides much more versatility in the field, but Francisco will likely provide a better bat off the bench and more permanent solution at third.
We’ll get a look at him in the future’s game tonight. And just for good measure: