As spring training fast approaches I want to go around-the-horn on the projected Mets opening day lineup position by position. I will talk about my thoughts on how that position matches up and how it should be handled. Hope you enjoy.
When the Mets made the deal last year to trade Ryan Church to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur in return I was not happy. I was a Church guy and never could understand why the Mets never seemed to give him a chance. It baffled me why they would trade for a guy and then treat him like he ran over their dog. It was obvious that Jerry Manuel couldn’t stand Church. I thought it was unfair and really hated to see him go. After watching Frenchie play in 82 games for the Mets I have to admit he’s one of my favorite players.
I love the levity he brings to the team. He likes to have fun and that helps keep baseball fun. That’s no small thing as I think the Mets by and large have forgotten how to do that years ago. I hate cliches but Francoeur’s arrival at CitiField was like a breath of fresh air.
The Braves had obviously given up on their hometown rightfielder. I am not sure what they thought they saw to make them think that, but I saw nothing to indicate that in the half season I watched him. It sure looked to me like he was a guy who really needed a change of scenery as his stats jumped right back up to the level that had people labeling him as “The Natural” in his first few seasons. This is a guy who in his first four and a half seasons has batted .271, hit 88 homeruns, and driven in 400 RBI’s. He had on real “down” year in 2008 and that’s why those stats are even as low as they are. The Braves obviously felt that was more the norm then a down year. Lets hope they were wrong.
I am not really a stats guy when it comes to analyzing players and I feel Francoeur will bring a lot more to this team then just his production on the field. We saw this team buckle last year when Jose Reyes went down. They seemed unable to smile, and going to work each day seemed unbearable, and these guys play a game for a living. It’s long been documented how much “fun” Reyes can make the clubhouse. I think Francoeur is in the same vein. I am really hoping his approach to the game will rub off a bit onto David Wright and at the same time take some of the heat off him. He’s not one to shy away from the media like some Mets have in the past, this will help take some of that spotlight off players like Wright.
I really enjoy watching Francoeur play. He plays a sound fundamental game that should play well in CitiField. I think he is a personality “plus” guy and it’s good to get players like this into the organization. Here’s to hoping his trend back upwards during the second half of last season continues into a big 2010 for Frenchie.