ATLANTA -- Three days after welcoming back Brian McCann to serve as their veteran catcher, the Braves announced that Jeff Francoeur will replace Joe Simpson as their lead television analyst.The Baby Braves are all grown up, and Atlanta's broadcast team will assume a different look next season.With Francoeur set to
ATLANTA -- Three days after welcoming back Brian McCann to serve as their veteran catcher, the Braves announced that Jeff Francoeur will replace Joe Simpson as their lead television analyst.
The Baby Braves are all grown up, and Atlanta's broadcast team will assume a different look next season.
With Francoeur set to work around 105 games, Simpson will now primarily be heard as part of the Braves' radio broadcast team that will again include Jim Powell, Don Sutton and Ben Ingram. Chip Caray will continue to serve as the play-by-play announcer for all televised games on Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast.
"We are excited that Joe is returning to his roots and doing both radio and TV," Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller said. "We think we have the most talented TV and radio broadcast lineups in baseball, and we look forward to watching and listening to the new combinations beginning in the spring."
When Francoeur is not in the television booth, the analyst duties will primarily be handled by either Simpson or Tom Glavine.
Francoeur has been a Braves fan favorite since he and McCann made their respective debuts with many of the other Baby Braves in 2005. The suburban Atlanta native remained with his hometown team until '09 and returned in '16. He has spent the past two seasons introducing himself to the broadcast world while filling multiple roles on Atlanta television broadcasts.
When MLB Network and other national outlets expressed interest, Francoeur knew he wanted to stay home to experience this opportunity.
"I'm excited," Francoeur said. "This is a great opportunity. When you're done playing, you take time to get a feel for what you like and what you want to do. Over the past two years, I came to find I love calling games."
Less than a year after being inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame, Simpson is accepting this re-assignment and genuinely looking forward to once again assuming the less-demanding radio broadcast duties that he previously shared over the years with Pete Van Wieren, Skip Caray and Sutton.
Simpson chose to limit his response to, "I can't wait to get back to radio. I've missed it."
Francoeur grew up listening to Simpson and the two have developed a strong friendship, so the primary drawback to this opportunity is that it came at Simpson's expense.
"It is bittersweet, because it affects Joe," Francoeur said. "[Simpson] has talked to me the last two years about scaling back. He called me, and he was great about it. That makes you feel good. Plus, he will still be doing radio, so he's not just out."
Powell will continue to be the primary play-by-play announcer for radio broadcasts as he returns for his 11th season with the Braves on a multi-year contract and with a reduced schedule. Specifics of the reduction were not revealed, but a source indicated Ingram could fill the play-by-play role for 60 games in 2019.
Behind the microphone, Powell and Ingram will partner with either Simpson or Sutton, the 73-year-old Hall of Famer who limited his 2018 schedule to home games.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.