"Guy" might not be the word to use here. When you hear "French guy", you probably picture someone in his 20s or 30s with stubble and sexual maturity. The player the Mariners signed is 16 years old, and I'm just going to go ahead and assume that he's stubble-free and sexually inept. "I wasn't sexually inept when I was 16 years old," you might say proudly for some reason. Yes you were, you were terrible. I should only hope that you've become less terrible with the passage of time.
The 16-year-old is named Alexandre Roy, and here's Baseball America's writeup of the signing. Here's another writeup of the signing from a few days ago, before it was official. What's encouraging is that "Roy" is like the French word for "king", which bodes well. What's discouraging is that Roy hails from Rouen, which sounds like "ruin". I guess that could be encouraging if you look at it from a different perspective. I shouldn't need to tell you that this is the way things work - you are defined by the things that your name and the places around you sound like.
The scouting report isn't going to blow you away. I'll remind you that Roy is a 16-year-old out of France. He's a left-handed pitcher who is neither tall nor short, heavy nor light. His fastball's in the 80s, and he has a changeup that might be ahead of his breaking ball. That's interesting to me, since in my experience a decent breaking ball is a lot easier to pick up than a decent change, but let's not pretend that Roy's breaking ball or changeup are good. They're all right, for what he is. He has a long way to go.
If you're wondering why I'm writing about this, since I don't write about every teenager the Mariners sign, I don't really know. I guess I'm in the mood. Plus I have the time, and I don't know what else to write about. There's the Franklin Gutierrez thing, but, man, what a bummer that is.
A handful of teams were supposedly interested in Roy, but the Mariners won out. It's not surprising that the Mariners signed a guy out of France, since the organization has been famously active in European circles. Greg Halman and Alex Liddi are two examples, but the M's also have Roy, and the German Daniel Thieben, and others. I thought it was awesome more than a decade ago when the M's signed Oleg Korneev out of Moscow, and Roy isn't quite that exotic, but France isn't known to be a baseball hotbed. Here are the Major League players born in France. You'll notice that many of them aren't really French.
You could argue that the Mariners have already had plenty of experience with French players, having had, for example, Erik Bedard, Philippe Valiquette, and Phillippe Aumont. But there's a difference between French and French-Canadian. Of course, Roy's dad is French-Canadian, coming from Quebec, so. There's still a difference. Just trust me.
Alexandre Roy: Mariners property. There stands an excellent chance that I never again write his name on this website, but there stands some chance that I will, and, we'll see. Think about how different you were at 20 from when you were 16. Maybe Roy will blossom into a phenomenal pitcher. Maybe he'll drop out of baseball and turn to drugs, if he doesn't already do drugs. I mean, we can't dismiss it entirely. Don't be naive.
This offseason, the Mariners organization lost Luke French. This offseason, the Mariners organization added Alexandre Roy. It's nice to see them getting more authentic.