"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.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.