Brewers acquire Juan Francisco from Braves; release Alex Gonzalez
The Brewers shook up their infield just a bit on Monday, acquiring Juan Francisco from the Braves and releasing Alex Gonzalez.
Francisco, 25, was designated for assignment by Atlanta last week. He hit .241/.287/.398 (86 OPS+) with five home runs and 43 strikeouts in 115 plate appearances this year and is a career .254/.299/.431 (95 OPS+) hitter with 19 homers and 164 strikeouts in 501 plate appearances spanning parts of five seasons.
The Braves acquired Francisco from the Reds at the end of spring training last year. With Aramis Ramirez entrenched at third base, the Brewers could move Francisco to first base or use him as a powerful left-handed bat off the bench. Yuniesky Betancourt has hit .221/.250/.374 (67 OPS+) as the primary first baseman while Corey Hart has been on the DL.
Gonzalez, 36, managed a .177/.203/.230 (18 OPS+) line with one homer in 118 plate appearances before being released. He moved all around the infield for Milwaukee while Hart and Ramirez were on the DL. Gonzalez is a career .246/.290/.396 (79 OPS+) hitter in parts of 15 big league seasons.
Keeling, 25, has a 3.18 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 17 relief innings for the Brewers' Double-A affiliate this year. He was their 18th-round pick in the 2010 draft and was not considered one of the team's 30 best prospects by Baseball America in their 2013 Prospect Handbook before the season.