Kansas City Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur (21) sits on some quick dry bags during a rain delay against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium earlier this season. The Parkview grad was designated for assignment Saturday by the Royals. (Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
Jeff Francoeur, in a season-long slump, was designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals Saturday night, a tough twist for the former Parkview star.
According to mlb.com, Kansas City's efforts to trade the struggling outfielder, who is in the second year of a contract that pays him $6.75 million, apparently failed. The Royals have 10 days to trade Francoeur, or if he clears waivers, as expected, to release him. If he is released, the club is on the hook for his remaining salary.
Though he was strong in the field as usual — he has 119 career assists — Francoeur was hitting just .208 (28-for-183) with three homers and 13 RBIs this season.
"He's been an incredible teammate and brought a winning attitude every day and made a real positive difference in our community, so he's a winner," Royals general manager Dayton Moore told mlb.com. "He'll be fine."
Francoeur was a high school legend at Parkview, his heroics helping the Panthers to back-to-back state championships in both baseball and football his final two seasons. The hometown Atlanta Braves made him a first-round pick in 2002 and he rose to stardom quickly, even gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated. He had 100-RBI seasons in both 2006 and 2007 and hit 29 home runs in 2006.
But offensive struggles in 2008 saw the Braves send him to Class AA Mississippi briefly, then trade him to the New York Mets in 2009. He played for the Mets and Texas Rangers the following season, earning a shot with the Royals in 2011, when he justified the signing by hitting .285 with 20 homers, 87 RBIs, 47 doubles and a career-high 22 stolen bases.
After signing the two-year deal with the Royals, he faded late last season and hit .235 with 16 homers and 49 RBIs.
"Jeff had a great year for us in 2011 and he was solid for us last year, but he had a tough ending," Moore told mlb.com. "He didn't get going for us this year. He had some big hits for us this year, won some ballgames for us."