Jose Guillen a Brave and Jeff Francoeur a Royal?

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Jose Guillen a Brave and Jeff Francoeur a Royal?
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

I know it's just a rumor, but I could see this one happening.

I've noticed that Jeff Francoeur has reverted back to his old stance and reverted away from he worked on with Rangers, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo this offseason.

It's only making things worse.

Three weeks into the season, Francoeur was hitting .317 with an .856 OPS, two HR, and 12 RBI.

Since then, he's hit about 100 points lower, his OPS is a paltry .611, and he's got only two HR and 18 RBI in the last eight weeks.

There's been plenty of talk, over the past few years, that Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore, who was with Atlanta when Francoeur was drafted, would acquire him if given the chance.

The Braves seem to be growing tired of Francoeur's poor offensive approach and production and are exploring the idea of trading him.

The knock on Jose Guillen isn't his talent.

He's spent a two-week stint on the DL this year already and has better offensive numbers (.266 BA, 8 HR, and 33 RBI) than Francoeur does on a team that's struggled offensively just as much if not more than Atlanta.

The knock on him is his attitude.

While he doesn't quite have the short fuse of Milton Bradley or Carlos Zambrano, he's worn out his welcome in a number of places.

His tool set is very similar to that of Jeff Francoeur. He's got enough speed, but isn't one to steal bases. He's got a rocket arm and enough range to play the outfield, but is inconsistent at the plate.

In 2008, Guillen posted hitting, on-base, and slugging numbers several points below his career average.

He still hit .264 with 20 HR and 97 RBI.

Last I checked, that was still a lot better than Francoeur's .239 BA with 11 HR and 71 RBI.

The Braves' clubhouse has had some success in taking care of "bad apples," while also having those players be successful on the field (Kenny Lofton and Gary Sheffield).

While I am somewhat concerned about Guillen's past as a Braves fan, it's a risk I would take.

As long as Kansas City offers to pay part of Guillen's remaining $18 million on his salary between now and the end of the 2010 season.

Guillen is in the second year of a three-year deal that pays him $12 million per season. As of right now, that doesn't fit in the Braves' budget.

Another $5 million (after you subtract Francoeur's remaining salary) is likely not something the Braves could absorb on their payroll.

However, if the Royals would kick in about $5 million of what remains, it would be in the Braves' interest to trade right fielders with Kansas City.

The Braves do need a right-handed power bat in the outfield, and Jeff Francoeur has shown he's not hitting like 2006.

A year and a half of Jose Guillen might be just enough to allow Jason Heyward to develop in the minors, then take over in 2011 (age 21), and the Braves would allow Guillen to become a free agent.

The trade is not without risk, but given his age (just turned 33), tools, production, and put him in a comfortable clubhouse, I think trading Jeff Francoeur for Jose Guillen might improve the Braves chances for 2009 and 2010.

There's always the risk that Francoeur will become Jermaine Dye—a dominant right fielder in Kansas City for several years.

However, given the last hometown Atlanta product to be traded to Kansas City by the Braves (Kyle Davies), I don't expect things will change drastically for Francoeur, although I hope wherever he plays that he improves from what he's doing now.

I know Braves fans can't take another month of a .228 average with an OPS around .600.

The McLouth trade was a start—Guillen-for-Francoeur would be a risky, but positive next step.

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