If four days was enough for you to develop an emotional attachment to Mike Napoli, then I feel for you. Napoli, who Alex Anthopoulos picked up in the Vernon Wells trade with the Angels on Friday, was flipped to the Texas Rangers this afternoon for Frank Francisco, a chair-tossing maniac that also happens to be a reliable right-handed reliever. That makes three bullpen arms acquired within the past month (with free agents Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch preceeding), which in turn makes depth in Scotty Downs’ and Kevin Gregg’s absence a tad less of a concern.
With Jason Frasor and Shawn Camp still in the mix, the Jays now have an abundance of righties and a shortage of southpaws, with David Purcey and Jesse Carlson the only two lefties with any sort of experience, and that’s not to claim the pair has much. Still, you have to figure the Greek God of Trades has something up his sleeve. The 31-year-old Francisco was 6-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 52.2 innings last year, striking out 60 for the AL Champion Rangers. In 283.1 career innings, he has 3.75 ERA, 315 strikeouts and has held opposing hitters to a .225 average. Twenty-five of his 32 career saves came in 2009, when he handled the bulk of the closing duties for Texas.
As for the “chair-tossing” label, it’s a reference to an ugly incident from his rookie season in 2004 when he threw a chair into to the crowd during a run-in between an Oakland fan and the Ranger bullpen, hitting the wife of the target in the face. Francisco was arrested, pleaded no contest and ordered to do some anger management. Apparently he’s shaped up though, because according to his Wikipedia page he is “very active in the community”, along with his wife. Unless that’s just court-ordered community service, I guess.