Juan Francisco is officially a member of the Red Sox after Boston claimed the corner infielder off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday.
Francisco, a left-handed batter, hit 16 home runs for the Blue Jays in 2014 while batting .220/.291/.456 with 116 strikeouts in 320 plate appearances. While Francisco has surpassed the 15-home run mark in each of the past two seasons, he strikes out in approximately one third of his plate appearances and played inconsistently on defence at first and third base.
The 27-year-old had been a non-tender candidate in Toronto, where he was set to earn a raise through the arbitration process. He’s set to obtain an estimated 2015 salary of $2.2 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors, and the Blue Jays can instead use that payroll room to address their infield, outfield and bullpen.
The claim also opens up a 40-man roster spot for Toronto in advance of Thursday’s deadline for adding Rule 5 Draft eligible players to the roster. It would now be easier for Toronto to add a prospect such as John Stilson or Andy Burns if they are interested in preserving minor league depth.
While the Red Sox appear to be pursuing free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval, Francisco could be paired with the right-handed hitting Will Middlebrooks in a powerful boom-or-bust platoon at third base.
The Blue Jays signed Francisco as a free agent on April 2 after he was released by the Milwaukee Brewers. The Dominican infielder also has MLB experience with the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves.