So Met Nation after another defeat, this time, at the hands of Josh Johnson and the Marlins, questions arise about different lineup concepts to get the offense rolling. Jerry Manuel, not the quickest hook to ever manage, must realize now that his “idea” of moving Jose Reyes to the three spot in the batting order has been a monumental flop. His comments following last nights’ game ensure that the lineup should, and will be altered and tinkered with to get things going.
Hurray for you J-Man. It only took you a few weeks longer to realize what the rest of Met Nation and its disciples already knew: That Jose Reyes is not a three hole hitter. I do applaud Manuel’s attempts to get the lineup going by conceiving of a way to lengthen his lineup, however, I stopped clapping after it became apparent his move wasn’t working, and was detracting from the effectiveness of his offense.
I’d like to look at another spot however. I’d like to review Jeff Francouer’s production which has been absolutely terrible since the second week of April.
Francouer, who hasn’t been the same since the 20 inning affair on April 17th in St. Louis, is a streaky hitter. He’s also a very aggressive one as well. In his last 87 at-bats since his good start, and including that 20 inning affair, Frenchy is: 12 for 87 with 3 walks, 3 HBP’s, 1 HR. Worse, his May average is .122 and his OBP is .174. It’s the middle of May folks. He’s had 1 walk this whole month. ONE! His over aggression is a huge detriment to a fragile lineup. It’s apparent Frenchy becomes over aggressive the deeper his slump becomes. Has his approach had an impact on other players in the lineup? Hitting, baseball players profess, is infectious when things are going good, can over aggression be an infectious detriment as well?
Any moves with Frenchy must be carefully done however. Francouer has supplanted all others in becoming a verbal leader on this team. His excellent defense, combined with his leadership, and status as a grinder and true professional, has the Mets in a bit of a dilemma.
Jeff, given the opportunity to resurrect his career with the Mets, has brought an air of professionalism and gritty, tough play to this franchise that sorely lacked those distinct attributes. All of this begs the question; How much longer can the Mets wait for Frenchy to come out of his funk?
The Mets, Omar, and particularly, Jerry Manuel, need to become more aggressive in making changes that everyone sees being needed. Making the Chris Carter move was a no-brainer. Bringing Jason Pridie up to supplant the clueless Gary Matthews Jr. would be a prudent move as well. However, what of Francouer? How about sitting Francouer for a few games and inserting Carter into RF in the lineup. Of course it will weaken the Mets defensively for a few games, but this team needs to find a way to kick start the offense.
Making the move may be prudent as well to get Francouer a chance to clear his mind, work intensively with Hitting Coach Howard Johnson, whose status may become more tenuous by the day, and give “the Animal” an opportunity to ignite this anemic offense.
No one player should be placed above the team, but there are pitfalls and pratfalls to removing Frenchy from the lineup. Carter could ignite the offense with his superior bat, force J-Man and Omar to rethink Francouer’s status, and detract from the teams’ defense which has been good to very good. Even the best players are flawed, Carter’s a better bat, Francouer is a very good defender, and team leader. Maybe it’s time to have his leadership tested by a protracted stay on the bench to fix his swing and temper his aggressive nature. Offensively, this team needs a jolt. Jose Reyes back to the top of the order is one move, but sitting the popular Francouer for 3 days is another…What are your thoughts Met Nation?