Presumably going to continue platooning with LaRoche; the latter doesn’t really need to be platooned, but he’s got a good partner anyway. Julio is actually one of the most consistent players on the team, despite his age. He had a power slump in 2002, but his percentages in 2001 and 2003-04 are eerily similar:

2001 .300 .376 .444
2003 .294 .372 .452
2004 .309 .378 .441

You know what you’re going to get. He plays okay defense, not as big of a deal with LaRoche as with some other first basemen he’s worked alongside. No longer fast, but a smart baserunner and an aggressive one when needed… Needs 43 hits for 2500, 18 doubles (his total last season) for 400, career batting average is .300 and he’d like to keep it there.

I like to use the similarity score lists at Baseball-Reference for players, normally the “Similar through Age” list. You can’t do that with Julio, because so few players have managed to play until 45, or whatever his real age is. The top player on his list without the age is BJ Surhoff, which seems like a fair comp, considering that nobody’s really had Julio’s career pattern. I don’t think anybody’s ever played anything like 715 games at short, 663 at second, 403 at first, and 367 at DH. Well, Paul Molitor maybe… No, Molitor didn’t play that much short, and did play a lot of third. I can’t think of anyone else.

Julio Franco Statistics –