The Toronto Blue Jays added right-hand hitting Ben Francisco to an already-crowded outfield picture on Monday, fuelling speculation that general manager Alex Anthopoulos is preparing to trade for a pitcher.
Francisco, who hit .244 with six home runs and 34 runs batted in and split 70 games between right field (55) left field (14) and designated hitter (1), was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league left-hander Frank Gailey, who has spent four years in the Blue Jays farm system
Gailey, 26, was originally selected in the 23rd round of the 2007 draft by the Blue Jays and has spent four seasons in the Blue Jays system. going 23-15 with a 2.45 ERA in 175 games (one start).
The Blue Jays have plenty of outfielders beyond Hank Aaron Award winning right-fielder Jose Bautisa, but three of them (Travis Snider, Eric Thames and Colby Rasmus) are lefty bats. Rajai Davis hits right. Kelly Johnson, who accepted salary arbitration and is a second baseman who has played outfield in the past, is also a lefty bat. The Blue Jays have another right-handed bat, Edwin Encarnacion, playing in the outfield in winter ball.
The Blue Jays were linked in discussions for starting pitching last week at the baseball winter meetings in Dallas, Tex., including Oakland Athletics workhorse Gio Gonzalez. But the Athletics are looking for a bundle of prospects in return. Anthopoulos has made a priority out of adding starting pitching and bullpen depth.
Also Monday, the Blue Jays claimed right-hander Jim Hoey off waivers from Minnesota, outrighted catcher Brian Jeroloman and right-hander Drew Carpenter to triple-A Las Vegas and designated right-hander Jesse Chavez for assignment.
With a report from The Canadian Press