The Cincinnati Reds have traded 3B Juan Francisco to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for P J.J. Hoover according to Mark Sheldon of mlb.com (click here for the article). While the trade appears fairly minimal, there is actually some fairly sizable fantasy fallout. Let’s take a look:
The Cincinnati Reds Fallout
With the loss of Ryan Madson, as well as the potential for Aroldis Chapman to stick in the rotation, it makes sense that Cincinnati would want to add new blood for the bullpen. While Hoover has worked as both a starter and reliever since being selected in the tenth round in 2008, he may have found a niche in the bullpen. He made 12 appearances at Triple-A in ’11 (only 2 starts), posting a 14.95 K/9. Over his minor league career he has posted a 2.72 BB/9 and 9.54 K/9. If your league values middle relievers, he’s a name to keep an eye on.
However, the biggest impact comes for Todd Frazier. There was a roster crunch coming in Cincinnati, and his remaining minor league options could’ve forced him back to the minors. However, with Francisco out of town the Reds are in need of a backup 3B. Enter Frazier, who I have been a major proponent for over the entire spring.
I could easily see him falling into a Mark DeRosa type role with Cincinnati, seeing time across the infield as well as in the outfield throughout the season (think 4-5 games per week). Throw in the injury risk for Scott Rolen, and it is not too hard to envision him seeing significant at bats this season.
To give you an idea of what he is capable of, in 858 AB at Triple-A he has 34 HR and 33 SB. Yes, strikeouts could cause an issue for his average (22.9% at Triple-A), but there is too much there not to like. He has continued to show off his skills this spring (.294, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 11 R and 2 SB in 51 AB). In deeper formats, he is a must stash.
The Atlanta Braves Fallout
With Chipper Jones set to open the year on the DL, the team needed to add depth at the hot corner. Now they will have significant flexibility as they can use Martin Prado either in the outfield or at 3B depending on who is playing well. If Matt Diaz and/or Eric Hinske are producing, Prado will be back at third. However, does anyone really expect that?
Francisco has long been known for his power and figures to make a good impact for Atlanta. He’s hit 38 HR in 700 Triple-A at bats (International League). However, he has significantly struggled with making contact at the Major League level (28.2% over 169 AB, 23.1% over 2,423 minor league AB). That is going to make hitting for a good average nearly impossible, so you have to hope the power plays.
I wouldn’t consider Francisco more than a short-term fill-in for those in deeper formats. While he is in a better situation and should get playing time, the average could prove to be a killer. Plus, once Chipper Jones returns, Francisco will definitely find himself back on the bench.
What are your thoughts of the deal? Who is the biggest winner?