Today in Blue Jay History: Mike Napoli traded for Frank Francisco

Dilip Vishwanat

Three years ago today the Blue Jays traded Mike Napoli for Frank Francisco.

I think it would be fair to say that we were perplexed:

Napoli hit 26 home runs in a pitchers ball park. How many could he hit at Rogers Centre? He can get on base. He can catch. As much as I'd rather we didn't take at bats away from JP, most teams wouldn't mind having a power bat so there would be a fall back for the rookie catcher. He can also play first, so he could back up Adam Lind or platoon with him and he could also DH. We do have other guys to do those things. Jose Molina can back up JP. EE can back up Lind and/or DH. Napoli likely would be a better choice than either of those two, but maybe not all that much better. Still he would have given the Jays some depth in spots where they are paper thin at the moment.

Yeah, I was totally wrong about not wanting him to take at bats away from JP, but other than that, I still don't see why we'd trade a power bat for a reliever.

Alex did try to explain it to us:

  • Alex said the team has liked Francisco for a long time and pursued him for a long time. They looked at him when he was a free agent, but when the Rangers offered arbitration, they decided they didn't want to give up their first round pick.
  • They had tried multiple different offers to the Rangers, over the last while. Having Napoli is what got the deal done.
  • They liked Francisco, in part, because he is good against LHB. Right now Purcey is the only lefty sure to make the pen. Carson is likely to make it as well. And Jo Jo Reyes has a chance because he has no options left.

Sorry Alex, I still don't understand.

Frank missed the first couple of weeks of the 2011 season with an injury, but moved into the closer's role by May. He blew 3 saves and had a lost to go with 5 save in the month, then lost the job to Jon Rauch, which didn't go much better. Frank pitched better as the season went on, putting up a 1.37 ERA in the second half of the season. Frank signed with the Mets as a free agent after the season and we drafted Matt Smoral in compensation for him. Matt had a 7.01 ERA for the Gulf Coast Jays last year in 25 innings.

Mike Napoli? Well you know, he's hit 77 home runs in the 3 seasons since the trade. Helped the Red Sox to the World Series last year and has been great.

Still don't understand the trade.

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