MMO Fan Post: Last Word On Francoeur? Probably Not.

An article by posted on September 5, 2010

* * * Metsmerized Fan Post * * *

Long-time reader, first time poster (paraphrased from talk radio). I get most of my Mets news and opinion from Metsmerized without really contributing anything, but the recent Jeff Francoeur trade has me re-evaluating how I look at the game. I felt the need to weigh in.

When Frenchy came to New York, I was like most of you. Sad to see Ryan Church exit, but excited that a former star player Francoeur was joining the team. Yeah, he had a bad season or two but look how good he was in 2005, just a few years back. If he could regain that magic we’d have a great player and a great guy on the squad for years to come. I was ecstatic when he dominated in the second half of 2009. The offseason had me excited for a Frenchy breakout in 2010, and it made me happy to see him succeed since so many MMO people loved him. Joe D. was especially a big fan, and seemed to take particular pleasure in his success since it proved the stat-head people “wrong”, or whatever the appropriate word is. From this past February, “Jeff Francoeur Leads The Charge”:

“When the Mets traded Ryan Church for 25 year old left fielder Jeff Francoeur, the Braves as well as every saber-head in the universe said the Mets got hosed. Lately, they don’t chirp as loudly as they once did. I think they are lying in wait for one false move by Francoeur so they could jump out and proclaim, “You see! I told you so!”. I also believe they have a long wait ahead of them.”

I’ll admit I kinda got a kick out of it too. Some people think it’s all numbers on a boxscore so seeing stat-heads squirm as Frenchy racked up hit after hit, and even drawing walks was a little more fun than it should have been. There was also talk of a contract extension, which MMO supported, and I did too. From last September, “Mets To Offer Jeff Francoeur 3 Year Deal”:

“Noble correctly states that signing Francoeur for the next few seasons would stabilize two-thirds of the outfield and five-eighths of the starting lineup for next season. Francoeur is a warrior that wants to play every inning of every game, and even the torn ligaments in his thumb couldn’t keep him out of the lineup. The best part is that at 25 years old, the best is yet to come. We have a lot of work to do this off season, but signing Francoeur to a multi year deal is definitely a huge first step.”

Looking back, what a catastrophe that would have been! We’d have him for two (or more) seasons after this one. I love ya Frenchy, but not enough that I want to see you past 2010!

It broke my heart this season to see Frenchy struggle so much. He was trying so hard but after the first week of the season he just couldn’t get anything to work. The trade was inevitable, he wasn’t coming back next year anyway. I wish him the best in Texas, but I can’t really say I was thrilled with his overall tenure here. Great guy and all that, but I’ve come to realize that maybe that’s not enough. If I texted, I would have voted that I approved of the trade that sent him away.

I read the Francoeur farewell post from the other day by Joe D. It seems like the biggest takeaway from trading Jeff Francoeur for the MMO people was that “stat-heads” were mean to him. There was hardly a mention of his poor play on the field, or a discussion of what can be learned from the situation, so that next time around we’re not all fooled by a fun guy with a goofy grin and great personality:

“I understand that Francoeur wasn’t meeting the minimum expectations of these new-fangled baseball fans, but did Francoeur actually deserve to be mocked and attacked the way he was in over a thousand posts and tweets on Wednesday?”

Let me just say, I don’t think you have to be a “new-fangled baseball fan” to see that Jeff wasn’t a very good player. LOL.

Joe did follow up the next day with another post, “Jeff Francoeur: The Other Side Of Yesterday”, providing some further insight. In the post, he pointed out that no matter how nice a guy is, no matter how hard he hustles, what really matters is winning and being a good player. Manny Ramirez was the point of comparison. Manny doesn’t seem like a great team guy, but if the goal is to win ballgames no sane person would chose Frenchy over Manny. He also acknowledged that maybe the stat geeks were onto something:

“It don’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the saber heads had been screaming all along.”

Considering this statement, I have a suggestion, and I’ll prepare to don my fire-retardant suit and duck the tomatoes. Maybe next time we’ll pay more attention to what matters for winning ballgames. Maybe a closer look at some of the numbers would help us realize that if something seems to good to be true (Frenchy in 2009) it probably is.

I happen to now think that winning cures all ills, even sub-par clubhouse attitudes. Win and all is forgiven. Good suggestion or bad? I don’t want to come off preachy, and I fully agree that there’s more to the game than just numbers on a page. But it appears in the Francoeur scenario the numbers were just too terrible to be overcome by a good clubhouse presence.

I don’t have much time in my day to spend reading about statistics, but if people have suggestions of where to look for that please share. Maybe when I have a few free minutes I’ll learn about OPS or BABIP or whatever those crazy acronyms are. And maybe it’ll cut down on the hate of stat-heads that usually goes on here.

Even in the Francoeur farewell post there was much time spent to making fun of people who are interested in that stuff. I don’t see the reason for it. Keeping an open mind and learning new stuff is never a bad thing, in all parts of life. Why should baseball be any different? Thanks for reading.

- Nancy Flushing

This was a Metsmerized Fan Post submitted by one of our readers. If you have an opinion that you want to share with thousands of other passionate Mets fans, you are invited to submit a post by clicking here.

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