As I wrote back when the Mets first acquired him, the Mets were the big winners when they dumped the lackluster Church in exchange for the young righthanded former first rounder, Jeff Francoeur. About a week and a half later, I indicated that his recent hitting woes were simply a matter of making adjustments. Here is what I wrote on July 28th,
In Francoeur, the Mets got themselves a player who already had two 100 RBI seasons before his 24th birthday. Many Mets fans have said that those 100 RBI seasons were now a distant memory and he was washed up. Washed up at 25? I didn’t buy it for one minute. What I saw was a young player who tasted success early on, and when pitchers adjusted to him, he failed to adjust to them. It was plain to see. In 2008, Frenchy unsuccessfully tried to fix things his way. In 2009, he was desperately seeking help wherever he could find it, including boarding a plane to meet with another team’s hitting instructor. That one move was the beginning of the end his tenure with the Braves, and led to a new opportunity with the Mets. It was a perfect match, although I may have been the only one thinking it at the time.
It appears that I was right on the mark, and that his work with Gary Sheffield and Howard Johnson has paid off. As the saying goes, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”
In 111 at-bats with the Mets, Frenchy has a .297 AVG/.336 OBP/.477 SLG with 5 HR, 20 RBI and just 13 K’s.
In 232 at-bats with the Mets, Churchy had a .280 AVG/.332 OBP/.375 SLG with 2 HR, 22 RBI and 36 K’s.
Church was striking out more and stranding more runners, and was half the run producer Jeff Francoeur has been for the Mets.
There is now no doubt about what Jeff Francoeur means to this team in terms of his powerful bat, great defense, and contagious positive attitude. The 25 year old right fielder, is clearly a key component to the 2010 Mets and will hit regularly in the heart of the Mets lineup for many years to come. By this time next year, even all those who doubted the enthusiasm and expectations of a minority of Mets fans, will come to view him as a fantastic trade acquisition who will bring more to the Mets than Ryan Church ever has or could. His star continues to rise each and every day, while Church fades into obscurity in his platoon role. As I stated previously in my posts and comments, I expect big things from Francoeur in 2010 and a .285 AVG - 28 HR – 110 RBI season is not out of the question. What I want all of you to consider is that Francoeur hasn’t even reached his peak years yet
Having Francoeur on-board for 2010 is one less thing the Mets have to worry about as they go about the business of patching up some holes throughout the team. The outfield becomes much more settled with a healthy Carlos Beltran patrolling centerfield and Frenchy covering rightfield. The Mets are two-thirds of the way closer to a vastly superior defensive outfield alignment. The game plan for leftfield has yet to be decided, but you can expect Angel Pagan to see plenty of time as the fourth outfielder.
My hope is that they could fill leftfield with someone who could cover a lot of ground and preferably add some lefthanded power to the lineup. The Mets won’t have much to spend, but I suspect it will be easier for them to to solve the leftfield problem, than it would be to solve catcher, starting pitching and possibly first base too.
The point is that if we still had Church, we’d probably be discussing how to replace him, and rightfield would probably have also been on our to-do list.
Thanks Omar (or should I say John Ricco?), for sparing us that.