The Yankees have signed outfielder Ben Francisco, who was released by the Indians yesterday, to a minor league deal and will have him compete for an outfield spot, according to Joel Sherman of the NY Post.
Signing a player to a minor league deal costs next to nothing and comes with no risk at all, so in that respects it’s hard to hate this signing. But Francisco doesn’t offer the Yankees much, if anything at all.
Francisco does play all three outfield positions, but not exceptionally well. Melky Mesa can offer them more defensively. He is a right handed bat, but he has no real platoon splits to help make up for a career .257/.326/.425 line. And that line would work, but he’s a few years removed from putting up numbers like that. Over the past two years he’s hit just .242/.317/.373.
The biggest benefit is probably just increasing competition. With the Curtis Granderson injury Matt Diaz is competing for a starting gig, not a bench gig. And with the Mark Teixeira injury, Juan Rivera is at play at first base. Throw in the injury to Adonis Garcia and the Yankees have fewer bench options than they did at the start of spring. It couldn’t hurt to throw Francisco in there, especially if he would agree to stick around on the Triple-A team as insurance once the season starts.