Saturday, July 11, 2009

Frenchy Flag

We can deduct two things about this Church for Francoeur trade:

The first thing we know now is that the white flag has been raised on the 2009 season. Because for an offense that has just been shut out for the third time this week, the remedy for that most certainly is not to trade a .280/.332/.375/.707 hitter for a .250/.282/.352/.634 hitter. Screw sabermetrics, this one is basic math.

And we also now know that at some point during this 2009 season, the Mets will be no-hit.

Yes, I believe this is an awful trade. But I really want to try to take more of a pragmatic, even handed view with this. For example, at first sight I went and blasted the Carlos Delgado trade, and blasted the original Ryan Church trade. I've since bought merchandise featuring both players. So I have to be just a little careful.

We all knew a Church trade was inevitable. Honestly, I thought that Church might have weathered the trade winds since he got this far, but the trade doesn't surprise me apart from the destination. But I can't get over the fact that Church has just been so mismanaged in his entire time here that it's a shame how the Mets completely wasted him. From the concussion misdiagnosis to being benched after starting the season on a hot streak to get Gary Sheffield at-bats, to putting him in center field for no real good reason except maybe to showcase his invented versatility for the Braves. And you know with a manager that doesn't hate him and will play him, there's no reason to think that Church isn't going to finally find a groove ... just in time for when the Mets are in Turner Field to face the Braves after the break.
"Shocker. Came out of nowhere. The good thing is I get to play these guys next week. They're going to have to change up a lot of signs. I know everything," Church said. "I'll definitely fill them in." -Ryan Church, after sending a text to Larry Jones and officially joining forces with the enemy
Signs? You need baserunners for signs to matter, and the Mets can't spell "baserunner". Get ready for Church to go 19-for-21 next week with five HR's.

As for Frenchy, he was in a very similar situation as Church was ... at odds with the manager and GM before getting his wish and being traded. And the rift between Francoeur and Braves management must have been wider than the gulf between Church and Snoop. To get the Braves to not only trade a former big-time prospect within the division, but an Atlanta native to the Mets is really something. Finally, a river wide enough.

Francoeur, just like Church, will come to a team that appreciates him (for now), and will play him constantly. That might not be a good thing. The Mets hope that the change of scenery will help Frenchy (and we saw how well that worked for Wade Redden), but it might be a case where the mind is willing but the batting eye is just too anxious. I think he will be just as motivated as Church will be to stick it to his former team, but for Francoeur to be successful his whole approach has to be revamped. And it's a little too late in the season to expect that 80 pitches in 80 seconds drill to do any good this year. So guess what: Francoeur is going to be a horror show this season.

The hope is for next season and beyond. And that's a hope against hope. The one thing I can say is that at least ... at least this could be a sign that the Mets are thinking about fielding a younger, more athletic team in the foreseeable future instead of rummaging through the bargain bin at Target looking for used tubes of toothpaste and impressing people by actually getting toothpaste out of them. But think about it this way: If they managed to mismanage a veteran like Church, how do you think they're going to turn a young Jeff Francoeur into the feared middle of the order hitter he was destined to be not long ago? Do you really have confidence that this is going to happen?

Bottom line: It didn't have to come to this. Even if 2009 is a wash, Church could have been a piece of the puzzle in 2010 and 2011 when everyone was healthy again. But because of Snoop's puzzling disinterest in him and because of all of the other stuff that Church had to go through with the concussions and what not, he was bound to be traded. Frenchy, who Buster Olney thought was a candidate to be non-tendered at the end of the season (seriously ... even Olney was flustered when the news broke of the trade ... that's how bizarre it is) had better find himself before 2011 when he becomes a free agent, and the Mets had better find a way to make sure he becomes the ballplayer he has the potential to be. This means not benching him in favor of Fernando Tatis after Francoeur gets three hits the night before. Or else there will be plenty of blame to be thrown around for 18 months of Ryan Church's baseball life (and our collective baseball watching lives) wasted by people with a hidden agenda.

And apropos of nothing, but fitting nonetheless, don't you find it ironic that Church's last official act as a Met is to join his new team by flying to Denver?

P.S. The Mets lost. Bronson Arroyo strikes again. Angel Pagan isn't the savior that the nation so desperately cries out for. Just another day in Flushing.


James Allen said...

Francoeur sucks, of course, but we all know this. His offensive numbers are in Rey Ordonez territory. I don't see this so much as raising the white flag for 2009 so much as Omar trying to look like he's "doing something" while getting rid of a player they've treated like shit, and unless Ryan Church was being some unreported douchebag behind the scenes, I have no idea why that was.

Because, of course, if you were really packing it in you'd get a prospect of some kind and not some alledged "phenom" that is well past his sell by date. Yes fans, the Mets just traded for that tub of cottage cheese that's been sitting in the back of the fridge for three months that you just hadn't gotten around to throwing in the garbage.

P.S. Well, at least if they get no-hit, they won't be the first team to get no-hit this year.

P.P.S. Our next contestant is Johnny Cueto! Come on down! You are the next contestant on "Be Sandy Koufax for a Day"!

Unser said...

Good analysis, but I have to disagree with the conclusion. I think this was a good trade - Frenchy has a heck of a lot more upside than Church. He's 25, has the best arm in the national league (even better than Church's) and has shown he MAY be able to thump both righties and lefties. He's got far more power potential than Church has.

I do think Church was mismanaged both years he was here, and you have to question Manuel's treatment of him. IF the plan was to trade him, why would you ever platoon or pinch hit for him? Don't worry, Jerry will be out the door at the end of the year. But it's clear to me that Church will be no more than a .275, 15 HRs, 70 RBI man, at best, who cannot hit lefties. Nice, but not what the Mets need. Think about it - do you think Omar could have done better than Church for Frenchy straight up? I don't think so.

Not saying Frenchy will live up to his potential, but the trade makes sense.

Now as for the no-hit watch, I say it happens against the Braves, in Atlanta.

Drew said...

John, we can only hope they trade snoop manuel and omar to japan for kobayashi just so we can screw someone elses team and not ours man

kjs said...

Being 50, I don't have a generational understandin' with all you young ones. This was done constantly in the 1970s---trade one ornery problem fer another and do some prayin'. Church didn't gel in NYC, and I don't recall any Shea/Debit's Field "Cult of the Great Church" until 6:33 last night when everyone of you young whippersnappers pulled out yer VORP machines and played silly statistical hypotheticals. (Actually, my ticket partner and I kept ourselves amused by keeping a count of how many balls in the dirt Ol' Ryan swang at during games.) Frenchie? A Convenient Nonsolution. Church will be happier in the Bible Belt; he deserves some happiness after 2008. Frenchie will dig some Broadway shows with the Little Woman fer awhile. And they'll fade out real soon for the next Big VORPer...

James Allen said...

Oh geeze. I don't want to make out that the Mets got rid of a superstar in Church, but what they're getting is not much of anything, and he's going to play every day.

Some evidence:

Subtraction by Subtraction

Deconstructing Jeff Francoeur (and this one is by a Braves fan)

The basic point being, the guy swings at anything that moves, doesn't walk and has a career OBP of .308. Let me say that again: a career OBP of .308. That includes the torrid start to his career. This year it's only .282. That sucks. Big time. Once again, this is a deal done simply for the sake of doing something while getting rid of player that wasn't well liked (or well treated, especially medically) by management for whatever reason. It's not going to go down as a bad trade by any means because they didn't give up much in Church, but they have made the team worse, if anyone around here actually though that possible, and adds another "let's wish real hard for a career renaissance" guy.

P.S. Oh geeze, again. I'm not a youngin', I've been watching this team since 1975, and, I have to be honest, philistinism is very unbecoming and not an argument for anything.

kjs said...

James---Never accuse me of being a fan of the Philistinisms. I hate that band-box team...

PS: 90% of baseball is karma...

casey's ghost said...

this is a good trade for won't be fulfilled till next year when the mets can tweak him.yes he plays everyday and yes he strikes out alot.he reminds me of a guy on our current roster who now strikes out alot but puts up numbers(d. wright) throw out all that sabermetrics crap, seriously. thats just a bunch of geeks w/ too much time on their hands anddon't realize the fact that this guy could be the piece to the puzzle we've been waiting for.w/ in the organization right now we've got frenchy(rf), d. wright(3b) reyes(ss)and f-mart(lf till beltran is gone) all under the age of 26.beltran and johan are all of 32 or so. delgado is gone, you get a good young piece over @ 1b and there back in biz for 2010. im not giving up on this year but a piece or two away in the off season and we're unbeatable. bullpen,eh. starters when healthy good not great, and our lineup and defense(pending on fa 1b pickup) will not be missed trust me. he's a forgettable player who even when healthy only plays well in about 70 of the 162 games of the year.good bye and goodluck in atlanta ryan, i'll see u on sundays. the only way i want to see his 4-6-3 hitting and balls in the dirt swinging butt is in the box score w/ a trademark 0-4( 2 k's amd a dp) good riddins in the bible belt church and god bless