GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jeff Francoeur walked over to a group of reporters on Saturday morning, smiled and extended a hand. The Indians had just informed the outfielder that he would not be on the Opening Day roster and he wanted to wish everyone in the clubhouse well.
That is a good summation of Francoeur's character and why delivering that news was so hard for manager Terry Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti.
"Talking with Jeff was one of the hardest conversations we've had," Antonetti said, "not only because of the player he is, but the person. It's really challenging to come to a new organization and fit in as well as he did, really from Day 1.
"He's got a lot of fans here, including Tito [Francona], me and a lot of the guys in the clubhouse. It made it really hard. We're hoping he lands on his feet somewhere."
Both Antonetti and Francona noted that they will do whatever they can to help Francoeur, who was released and is now a free agent.
"We'd probably do whatever we could," Francona said. "At the moment, you let the dust settle. You let him take a deep breath. I think he's very aware that, if he wanted somebody to speak on his behalf, both Chris and I would probably jump at the opportunity. That's kind of how we feel."
In 13 Cactus League games this spring, the 30-year-old Francoeur hit .286 with one home run and 10 RBIs for Cleveland, which signed him to a Minor League contract on Jan. 6. Across parts of nine seasons in the Majors, Francoeur has hit .263 with 140 home runs and 618 RBIs in 1,227 games spent with the Braves, Royals, Mets, Rangers and Giants.