Phillies Trade Benny Fresh to Toronto

The Phillies traded Ben Francisco to Toronto today for Minor League relief pitcher Frank Gailey.

The trade is not a complete surprise. The emergence of John Mayberry Jr. and recent signing of Laynce Nix had pushed Francisco deep onto the Phillies’ bench as a fifth outfielder. And with tonight’s midnight tender deadline for salary arbitration eligible players looming, it made some sense the Phillies would move Francisco rather than pay him more than the $1.175 million he made last season.

Francisco’s departure could open the door for veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik, who recently signed a Minor League contract with the team.

Gailey, 26, is a native Philadelphian, attending Archbishop Carroll High School and West Chester University. He split last season with Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire, combing to go 5-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 45 appearances. He is 23-15 with a 2.45 ERA in 175 appearances.

The Blue Jays selected him in the 23rd round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He is expected to provide the organization depth at the Minor League level.

Francisco, 30, came to Philadelphia as part of the Cliff Lee trade with the Cleveland Indians in July 2009. He hit .259 with 17 home runs and 75 RBIs in 225 games. Francisco’s most memorable Phillies moment will be his last. He hit a game-winning, pinch-hit three-run home run in Game 3 of the 2011 National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Here’s moer on Gailey from MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo:

A 23rd-round pick out of the 2007 Draft from West Chester University, Gailey gets to return home to eastern Pennsylvania. A starter in college – his name is all over West Chester’s career leaderboards – he’s been a reliever since entering the pro ranks. He’s moved slowly, though he’s put up decent numbers at every stop, with the exception of his first taste of Double-A in 2011.

Gailey has been forced to move slowly, proving himself at every level, including the Gulf Coast and short-season New York-Penn Leagues, even as a college pitcher. That’s largely because his stuff doesn’t grade out much better than average across the board. His fastball is an average offering, but his breaking ball is below-average. He gets a ton of action on  his changeup, but sometimes it’s too much.

Gailey will pitch out of two slots, sidearm and three-quarters, which can cause problems for left-handed hitters. Lefties in the Florida State League hit just .131 against him in 2011 and if the 26-year-old has any future in the big leagues, it will be as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.

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Need a holiday gift? We’ve got another Sports Writers Extravaganza book signing at 7 p.m. THURSDAY at the Barnes & Noble at the Willow Grove Mall.

12 Comments

Junior is worried about paying Ben a little over $1 million? Typical move for a checker player who enters a chess match. But, hey, have to add depth to the Phillies minor leagues.

pherris, he made $1.175 million last season, which would result in a raise for 2012. Francisco is mediocre, and was not going to get any playing time next season so, considering an upcoming arbitration for a bad player, Amaro was lucky to get more than a bag of balls for Bennie.
BTW, Gailey was Toronto’s 2010 Reliever of the Year. He’s not a bag of balls.

I don’t know from where you got your information that Frank Gailey was Toronto’s Reliever of the Year in 2010 but given that Frank Gailey has never pitched above the AA level I have to assume that you failed to reveal that this high honor was bestowed for his performance in the minors. And from what I can gather at the A or A+ level. Regardless, my point was as to how this is yet another example of Junior’s propensity to be penny wise and pound foolish.

Excuse me, pherris. Since he’s never pitched in MLB, I assumed that critically thinking people understood that he was the minor league Reliever of the Year. My bad. I should have considered the processing capacity of the audience.
And those “pennies” may be just what he needs to get somebody at the trading deadline without going over the luxury tax threshold. I will trust that he knows far more about what the Phillies’ overall salary obligations will be than you or I.

Boys, boys!
Francisco is a stiff who had exactly 27 plate appearances between July 4 and September 9. He has no purpose on this ballclub.
Regardless of Gailey’s effectiveness at the minor league level, the Phils have yet to address their biggest problem – the starting lineup.

Godspeed, Benny Fran. Thanks for the 3 run homer in game 3 of the NLDS. Apart from that, I can’t think of anything else you did.

He took up roster space that could have otherwise been filled by a productive player. That’s one thing.

And (note to Todd) a guy with his resume does not deserve a nickname. “Benny Fresh?”

Man, some of you guys are harsh…..Personally, I’d like to wish Ben good luck in the AL East. Maybe he will join the ranks of players who have learned how to effectively swing for the fences and hit them out of the park in Toronto.

Do people forget, other than the ’11 LDS homer, his super-clutch diving catch in the ’09 series against the Rockies? Of course they do.

Actually TID, the ’09 postseason is what I remember most about Bennie. 0-12 overall and 0-7 in the WS, with two butchered plays in the OF that contributed to Yankee victories. You;re not doing him any favors by bringing up 2009.

move was simple: with 8 starters, 11-12 pitchers you have a bench of 5-6 players. So far we have Schneider, Thome, wiggenton, Nix and Valdez. At most you have room for one more. Spilborghs was non tendered, don’t forget

How about Podsednik? He’s the guy I will be rooting for in spring training. Foot injuries are tricky though. He is a speed guy as much as Jimmy is. Without the speed returning and batting with a wobbly foot, he’ll be forced into early retirement. BUT if his foot has healed 100%, the Phils could catch lightning in a bottle with this guy.

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