Jeff Francoeur to Braves: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

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Jeff Francoeur to Braves: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction
Rich Schultz/Associated Press

Jeff Francoeur is heading back to the South, as the free-agent outfielder signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves on Monday, per Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

Francoeur was chosen by the Braves in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft and batted .266 in four-and-a-half years with Atlanta. He's played for six teams in seven years since 2009 and appeared in 119 games with the Philadelphia Phillies last season.

Bowman also noted Francoeur will get an invite to spring training with a chance to make the Braves' Opening Day roster.

When Francoeur made his big league debut with Atlanta in 2005, he was one of the more durable players in the league. He played all 162 games in 2006 and 2007 and also won his lone Gold Glove in 2007 while batting .293 and driving in 105 runs.

The Braves traded Francoeur to the New York Mets in 2009, and he was an instant upgrade to the Mets offense, batting .311 in 75 games in Queens.

After batting .285 in 2011 with the Kansas City Royals, Francoeur's offensive production dropped the next three years. The strong-armed outfielder batted .206 while playing for the Royals, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres.

Francoeur signed a minor league deal with the Phillies in 2014 and had a slight offensive resurgence for the 63-win Philadelphia club. The 6'4", 220-pound outfielder batted .258 with 13 home runs.

While that may not seem like a large number of homers, Fox 5 in Atlanta puts Francoeur's numbers in perspective:

Francoeur could have a realistic chance of making the Braves roster. Nick Markakis is listed as the starting right fielder—Francoeur's main position—and 25-year-old Ender Inciarte is at center.

Left field may be up for grabs, as Atlanta lists Hector Olivera as the starting left fielder on its website. The 30-year-old Olivera, who debuted last year from Cuba, committed four errors in 21 games with the Braves. If the team isn't satisfied with the production it's getting from Olivera, Francoeur could be a viable replacement in left field.

The 32-year-old still has a strong arm, and if his time in Philadelphia is any indication, he could be in line for a solid offensive year if called to the majors.

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com. Braves depth chart courtesy of AtlantaBraves.com.

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