So, the Braves are bringing Julio Franco back. Most likely the Braves will send a pitcher down—they have 13 on the roster, and Ascanio, Davies, and Reyes could all use some time in the minors—and Julio will join Thorman in a pinch hitter platoon off the bench. I suspect he’ll get a few starts against lefties when Salty gets days off—he’ll need them if he’s backing up McCann—and play in blowouts.
I like the move probably more than I should, because I like Julio. But the Braves always add a veteran PH about this time every year, and I prefer to have someone who is cheap (prorated league minimum) who has a good approach. While he didn’t do much with the Mets this year, he didn’t get much of an opportunity. He hit .200 in just 50 ABs, but he walked 10 times. Maybe some of that plate discipline will rub off on teammates. The Mets have started the leak machine that he’s done and that he was a clubhouse problem, which nearly guarantees he’ll punish the Mets later this year. Come on guys, have a little class. We don’t need someone to tell us he’s old, and I don’t think anyone is buying the bad teammate story. In Atlanta, it will be nice to have another right-handed batter on the bench. If he’s done, well he’s done. But it’s hard to imagine he’s a worse option as a PH than Chris Woodward.
I see a few losers for the Braves: Scott Thorman (obviously), Brayan Pena (now there really isn’t a place for him, unless Thorman is moved), and Terry Pendleton. By all accounts, Julio is popular with Braves players, and I don’t think many will turn a deaf ear to his advice. If his career ends at the conclusion of the year, and players give Julio some credit (instead of other players’ fathers), TP might find himself in a new position.