Jeff Francoeur Speaks, But Will Omar Listen?

An article by posted on September 22, 2009

An interesting piece appeared in the NY Post this morning by Mike Puma, who spoke to Jeff Francoeur about Rockies pitcher Jason Marquis who will be a free agent this off season.

Jeff Francoeur told The Post yesterday that Marquis, whom he considers a close friend, desperately wants to pitch for the Mets next season, even as the veteran right-hander focuses on helping the Rockies clinch a wild-card berth.

“He’d love to come here,” Francoeur — who indicated Marquis broached the subject to him and David Wright earlier this month when the Mets played at Colorado — said before last night’s 11-3 Atlanta win at Citi Field. He’d be a great fit. He’s from Staten Island. He’s a New York type of guy. He’ll probably be coming off the best season he’s ever had.”

Apparently, Jason Marquis holds no grudge toward the Mets for their lack of interest in him last winter. I think he would be a solid middle rotation pitcher. The Mets would still need a number two pitcher, but Marquis is a workhorse who will give the Mets innings. I have lobbied for Jason Marquis many times in the past two years, long before he had what can only be called the best season of his career while pitching in hitting haven, Coors Field.

I was disappointed when the Cubs offered Jason Marquis to the Mets for Aaron Heilman, and Omar Minaya turned it down. In July, my fellow MMO colleague Ed Leyro wrote the following,

Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the Mets could have sent whipping boy Scott Schoeneweis to the Cubs in exchange for Marquis.  For the second time, the Cubs would have paid part of Marquis’ salary to make the deal more attractive to the Mets.  Once again, the deal was not made.  Instead, the Mets traded Schoeneweis to the Diamondbacks for reliever Connor Robertson.

Wow… That’s such a colossal blunder on so many different levels…

Francoeur also adds that he hopes the Mets focus more on pitching than offense this offseason, and indicated he may try to convince the front office that Marquis is the right fit. Francoeur has become a part of the fabric of this team, so much so that he feels the need to let the organization know his feelings on the Mets’ needs and who he feels can help.

“I’d tell them he’s a guy who can go out there and throw 200 innings every year — and the last few years, the guy averages 14, 15 wins a season,” Francoeur said. “That’s the kind of guy I want on my team. Everybody talks about bats, bats, bats, but I’ve seen this game enough, and I grew up a Braves fan, that pitching wins baseball games. You look around, and I think pitching and defense is the always biggest key.”

Francoeur is right. If the Mets refuse to alter the dimensions it only makes more sense to focus on building a rotation worthy of the park they pitch in. One of my readers pointed out in a post yesterday, that pitchers park will not make a bad pitcher a good pitcher. I get the feeling that is what Omar Minaya thought when he put this rotation together.

In Minaya’s mind, the new park was suddenly going to transform Mike Pelfrey from a number 5 pitcher to a number 2 pitcher. And that Freddy Garcia, Tim Redding and Livan Hernandez would become middle of the rotation mainstays. I don’t know what he was thinking about Oliver Perez, but clearly he thought the vastness of Citi Field would cover up a myriad of pitching flaws. BUZZZZ! Wrong answer!

In addition to Jason Marquis, the Mets would do well to add John Lackey. That would give the Mets a 1-2-3 punch that would be on par with Phillies and trump anything the Marlins or Braves have.

Pitching, pitching, pitching…

Read this related story on Jason Marquis by Ed Leyro.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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