Welcome to NY, Jeff Francoeur.
In his first game wearing Orange and Blue, Jeff Francoeur did what is so essential for new players to do when traded to NY, get a big RBI hit early so the fans will stay off their backs for a bit.
Jeff gave Johan some early run support with a bloop 2-RBI single, and Omir Santos followed up with another RBI hit to give Johan an early 3-0 lead. It was all he needed, as Johan was, well, Santana-ish. Seven innings, 5 hits, a walk, and 5 K’s as he heads to St Louis for the All-Star Game.
(Please, please, please, please, PLEASE let CharliE Manuel ignore him during the game. PLEASE! and while we’re at it, if David Wright has to play, can we at least take him out after 4 innings and let Ryan Zimmerman have a chance at the spotlight?)
Perpetual Pedro Feliciano and K-Rod sealed the deal with the last 2 innings of scoreless relief. It was a non-save for Francisco Rodriguez, but he needed the work.
Francoeur, who is making my spell-check have an aneurysm, finished 2-4 with a strikeout and solid defense. I know most New York media has knocked the deal, but I am a bit indifferent to optimistc about it.
I liked Church, but I think what you see is what you get. He’s not a bad player by any extent, but he should be the 3rd best outfielder or even a 4th. I think there’s more to the Manuel-Church story than we’ll ever know, and the fact he was the first one dealt doesn’t surprise me. This is pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if this deal was as much for a change in clubhouse demeanor as it was on the field.
I do not know much about Francoeur, but what I do know that even 5 years younger than Church, his best seasons far outshone Ryan’s. He’s got a cannon for an arm, and got some pop in his bat. He’s a lot like a very poor man’s Adam Dunn, a guy who the ballpark doesn’t matter for power.
What makes me most optimistic is that this is a guy going from a pitcher’s park to a pitcher’s park. There’s no fear that production will decrease coming to Citifield. I like Francoeur’s attitude. He has been trying to get himself corrected for a while, going to different coaches and different stances. He made the right move by calling David Wright for advice. He brings more brashness and toughness to a team that has lately been morose due to all the injuries.
More importantly, he brings that bit of hope to the rest of the lineup. He is another guy where the players can say, “Let’s try to at least keep this going until Francoeur comes up, he may be able to belt one and tie it up.” Aside from Sheffield and possibly Wright, there was no one you can say that.
In the end though, we are still talking about a guy who is hitting .250, who doesn’t walk and strikes out a ton. Make no mistake, this is a change of scenery deal. He’s unlikely to be a savior, although stranger things have happened. Chances are if he can’t improve under Hojo, who might be fighting for his job since the Mets always need to have a scapegoat, that he’ll be non-tendered and let go when the season’s over.
Thus far though, good start. And it shows Omar, whose job may not be as safe as we all think is at least trying to be creative to improve the club. Based on his comments following the deal, I wonder if there’s something else brewing.
It may be a case of too little too late.
Posted by Robert Z