A lot has been made about the lack of a left-handed power bat on the Cincinnati Reds bench. The absence became even more noticeable because, prior to the beginning of the 2012 season, the Reds traded Juan Francisco to the Braves for relief pitcher J.J. Hoover.
Although the Reds could certainly use a dependable lefty for pinch hit situations, Juan Francisco is not that player.
Coming into spring training, every Reds fan on the planet knew that Francisco had a legitimate shot to make the Opening Day roster. Apparently, Francisco didn't get that message.
Francisco showed up to Reds training camp a reported 12 pounds overweight. It was also noted that Francisco failed to rehabilitate a right calf injury.
I put this question out to the readers: if you had a chance to make a Major League roster, whether you were 24, like Juan Francisco, or 94, wouldn't you show up in the best shape you could possibly be in?
I hope you're all nodding your heads right now because I sure would. The fact that Francisco can't gear up for spring training when he knows he could make the team out of camp is mind boggling.
Francisco has shown undeniably great power. However, he has zero plate discipline and I'm pretty sure Pedro Cerrano can hit a curveball with more consistency.
Lazy is the word of choice for this article. The only word that can begin to sum up Francisco and his attitude toward baseball. He underperformed in the spring and Walt Jocketty, along with Dusty Baker, began to take notice.
A famous quote from high school basketball coach Tim Notke sums up Juan Francisco and his career thus far, "hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard."
The Reds are lucky to have gotten anything substantial in return for him. According to the Atlanta Braves SB Nation page, Hoover just missed being a top 10 prospect for the organization. Unloading Francisco for him is already a great move.
When Hoover starts pitching out of the major league bullpen, we'll look back at this trade and realize what a steal he was.
I say good riddance to Juan Francisco.