Matthew Artus of the excellent Always Amazin blog on NJ.com, caught my attention with his post this morning. The subject was Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur, which is always a popular topic here on MMO. I figured that some of you might like to weigh in on his blog. Here is part of what he says, and you can read the entire piece here.
At the moment, Jeff Francoeur’s the everyday right fielder for the Mets because they simply do not have a viable alternative. F-Mart’s not ready. Nick Evans is forgotten. GMJ has ceased to be. And acquiring another player to fill that spot could unnecessarily block Pagan if and when Beltran returns.
Frenchy might be a hell of a guy to know and truly look the part of a ballplayer. He might always be available in charitable endeavors or for a quick and interesting sound byte to pass on to the beat writers. He might be charming, a clubhouse leader, and exhibiting the type of character you want to see in all ballplayers.
That doesn’t make up for the fact that Francoeur still does not perform the two tasks asked of every hitter in any significant way. He does not hit enough. He does not walk enough. Instead, we’re left with this generation’s version of a poor man’s Rey Ordonez. Rey Rey will always be a fan favorite amongst Mets fans for his defensive contributions, but we were all more than happy to replace him with Alex Rodriguez when the opportunity presented itself.
And for as much as some like Francoeur’s presence in the lineup, we would welcome his replacement just the same.
I’m sure Artus will get plenty of love from the stat-heads with this, but I’m not so sure a great portion of Mets fans would be so quick to throw Francoeur overboard just yet.
I don’t see Frenchy as a poor man’s Rey Ordonez, but a couple of weeks back, someone in our chat room mentioned how similar he was in character to Ron Swoboda, the Mets rightfielder from 1965-1970, and how he was even better offensively and defensively.
In the last 28 days, Francoeur is batting .364 with a .912 OPS to lead the team. It seems like an odd time to be discussing preparations for his departure. He slumped badly in May batting just .211, but batted .286 with a .886 OPS in April and so far in June he is hitting .339 with a .867 OPS.
Since the 26-year old Francoeur came to the Mets in the trade for Ryan Church, he has played in 143 games encompassing 521 at-bats. During that span he is batting .292 with 17 homeruns, 32 doubles, 78 RBI’s and 72 runs scored while batting mostly in the seventh spot of the batting order.
I’m a little surprised that there’s still so many Mets fans that would like to see him jettisoned from the Mets roster, especially since he exceeded expectations since arriving. He is widely credited with shifting the tenuous and uneasy atmosphere of the clubhouse last season. At least that’s what David Wright and Jerry Manuel have said about Francoeur on a few occasions this season and last.