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Red Sox claim Juan Francisco off waivers from Blue Jays

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Corner infielder Juan Francisco is the newest member of the Boston Red Sox, at least for the time being.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox have claimed corner infielder Juan Francisco off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Francisco, 27, hit .220/.291/.456 in 320 plate appearances for the Blue Jays last year which, while it doesn't look terribly impressive, is actually good for a 106 OPS+ on the back of the strong power numbers. Notably, 80% of those plate appearances came against right-handed pitchers, who Francisco has hit far better over the course of his career than right-handers. Between that and the power, Francisco could, if nothing else, be a reasonable left-handed "homer or bust" sort of pinch hitter.

Essentially, Francisco seems to be the deepest of insurance policies for a Red Sox team looking to make major improvements at third base. Should they sign Pablo Sandoval, there is little reason to keep Francisco on board, as Francisco is essentially an impoverished man's version of Sandoval, who likewise is far better against right-handed pitchers.

On the other hand, if absolutely everything goes wrong and the Red Sox are looking at, say, another season of Will Middlebrooks, then at the very least Francisco could help provide a platoon option at the hot corner, maybe even taking on a few at-bats against right-handed pitchers for Mike Napoli as well.

Chances are that Francisco is not on this roster come April, barring some trades. The Red Sox have a lot of bench options, and while they don't have many who can call first base one of their primary positions, Francisco's claim to play the position is more or less that of a poor third baseman acknowledging that, yes, that may be the only place for them down the line.

Still, it costs the Red Sox nothing to keep him on their roster for now while they try to find a real answer at the hot corner.