Francoeur returns! (and he shouldn’t have ever left)

How much do you think this guy wants to homer tonight?

How much do you think this guy wants to homer tonight?

Getting ready to head out to the stadium for tonight’s big grudge match: Ryan Church vs. the Mets. (Hah!)

Seriously, I’m curious: When Jeff Francoeur steps to the plate tonight, what will you do? Boo? Cheer? Wonder how this affects Willie Martinez’s plans in Stillwater?

For those of you who chose “boo,” that’s certainly your right as a fan, although I’m not sure the kid deserves it. But I’ve got to be honest: I didn’t really like the trade when general manager Frank Wren made it just before the All-Star break, and I still don’t like it. I still believe Francoeur — for as stubborn as he is taking advice and as much of a head case as some think he has turned into — can turn out to be a pretty special player.

I realize I’m weighing in late on this. But , hey, I was on vacation when the trade was made. And so, well, here we go:

Our scrappy baseball writer and maniacal blogger, David O’Brien, approved of the trade in his blog the other day and asked: Why wouldn’t you trade him?

My response is: Why would you trade him? Because I see only two scenarios in which I think you move Francoeur during the year:

♦ You make a trade for a player who you are pretty sure is going to help you get to the playoffs this season.

♦ You make a trade for a player who you are pretty sure is going to help you get to the playoffs next season.

What evidence is there in his resume that Church can do either?

He’s a fourth outfielder. He’s with his fourth team in six seasons. He’ll be 31 years old in October. We’re way past, “What’s his upside?” We’ve seen what he is: a nice player with a .272 career average and no power. Correct me if I’m wrong: But platoon outfielders with a .272 career average and no power generally are not in short supply, are they?

Francoeur’s problems have been well chronicled. But we’ve seen his upside. You can’t just dismiss what he did in his first two half seasons (394 games): 62 home runs, 84 doubles, 253 RBI, .280 average and a Gold Glove. At worst, why not wait until after the season and deal him then, maybe as part of a multi-player trade you have a better chance to shape your roster for the future (and maybe when more teams could be involved because they are reshaping their’s)?

Until then, at least you would have given Francoeur another half-season to work out his issues. And by the way: at 25, he’s got time to work out those issues.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to tonight ( but no — I won’t cheer or boo). I’m sure Derek Lowe is hoping Francoeur going 4-for-9 in his two games as a Met is an aberration.

My plans: I’ll probably post a column after talking to Francoeur and then update it later. Anybody have a question you want asked (other than: When’s the last time you phoned Rudy Jaramillo?)?

151 comments Add your comment

Letsgochurch

July 16th, 2009
3:38 pm

The only way Francoeur was to come out of his funk was with another team, it was apparent that the Atlanta exerience had gotten in his head. I wish him the best but not against us!

C. Tampa Ironworse

July 16th, 2009
3:39 pm

I totally agree JS. The Braves are going no where this year, they didn’t get anything of value for him and they are NOT going to have Ryan Church on the team next year. So ride Frenchy out. Send him down for a bit, DL him…SOMETHING. But trading him was weak…because they didn’t achieve anything by doing it.

PS: My bowtie is STILL better than D. Orlando LedBetter’s…

carpetbagger

July 16th, 2009
3:41 pm

I still give Wren credit for making the deal. Jeff stands a better chance of turning it around elsewhere. It clears the way so that the club can address the lack of production from the OF in the off season.

Rasheed Willis

July 16th, 2009
3:43 pm

Ever since Frenchy got of the Roids he hasn’t done anything. Maybe he should get on HGH like Pujols. It’s tough to detect from urine samples.

Scott

July 16th, 2009
3:44 pm

Anyone who boos Francouer is an embarrassment to Atlanta and to sports fans in general.

Jim

July 16th, 2009
3:44 pm

Totally disagree with you on this one. The Braves waited alot longer than they should have to move this prima donna. The last two seasons have proven that for whatever reason, it was not going to happen here for him. He may be a nice guy and all of that but, good riddance. Go Braves.

Seriously?

July 16th, 2009
3:45 pm

Addition by subtraction. Two years of a sub .300 OBP is horrible. We are a far better team without Frenchy, even if we only traded the kid for a bag of balls.

Herschel Talker

July 16th, 2009
3:45 pm

Schultzie – gotta disagree vehemently with you on this one

Scott – you’re a fool. He is an arrogant jerk who blamed everyone including the fans for his shortcomings.

Letsgochurch

July 16th, 2009
3:46 pm

I also believe that we’ve traded for a highly motivated player. Church has a bone to pick and I believe we’ll get more quality AB’s out of him than Anderson by seasons end. Not exactly a World Series formula but this ain’t your old Braves anymore.

Marcus

July 16th, 2009
3:46 pm

Yes, Letsgotochurch is correct. Unfortunately, that is all too true for a lot of the players that come through Atlanta.

Jim

July 16th, 2009
3:47 pm

Addendum – Frenchy should not be booed by the fans. I am glad he is gone but I hope that the fans show some class and leave the booing out of the equation.

Chris

July 16th, 2009
3:49 pm

He needed a change of scenery. He obviously wasn’t going to do anything in Atlanta. He was probably complaining when he was benched those games against the Rockies the same way he complained about going down to AA last year. He may end up having a great career,it wasn’t going happen .at home in Atlanta

JOHNNYG

July 16th, 2009
3:50 pm

Top three favorite Braves games ever.
Game 6 WS win
Sid Slid
and 07-07-05 Jeff’s debut.

Bill

July 16th, 2009
3:52 pm

Jeff I always gave you credit for being pretty smart but I guess I was wrong. Your vacation didn’t last 2 years.

Bravedawg

July 16th, 2009
3:52 pm

Jeff,

You asked “At worst, why not wait until after the season and deal him then, maybe as part of a multi-player trade you have a better chance to shape your roster for the future (and maybe when more teams could be involved because they are reshaping their’s)?”

Well, because everyone and their brother knows that the Braves were going to non-tender Francouer at the end of this season. So they wouldn’t be able to get anything in a trade for him. If you’re an opposing manager, why would you trade for him when you can just wait on the Braves to non-tender him, and then sign him outright?

**Exhale** Jeff, you should probably go back on vacation.

Letsgochurch

July 16th, 2009
3:55 pm

We shouldn’t boo Frenchy – he may have been lost at the plate but his heart was for Atlanta. Save your boo’s for players that really deserve it…

Scott

July 16th, 2009
3:57 pm

statistically, Francouer is the worst everyday player in the majors, and it’s not particularly close. the mistake was not benching/trading him earlier. the fact that we were able to get a somewhat serviceable player for him is fantastic

Doug

July 16th, 2009
3:57 pm

Francouer has been historically bad for more than two seasons…he was arguably the very worst every day player in the majors…he visited a hitting guru in jaramillo and has responded with a sparkling .288 obp…how long would you have the Braves continue this experiment and exactly why??? Is this not still the major leagues where one should have to produce and not simply be given continuous opportunity despite horrid production? Church is much more productive…period.

DMac

July 16th, 2009
3:59 pm

If the Braves didn’t have the guts to do what they should have done with him (i.e. send him to the minors and make him work his way back), then the only logical alternative was to trade him. I wish the front office and Bobby Cox had some guts, but they don’t, so it’s a good thing that he’s gone.

SuwaneeDawg

July 16th, 2009
4:00 pm

It was another horrible trade. Hopefully it will be the one that ultimately leads to Frank Wren’s departure. I certainly hope the Braves win this series, but am extremely hopeful that Frenchy has the series of his career against Atlanta. He still belongs in a Braves uniform.

Chris

July 16th, 2009
4:02 pm

I think this trade was made for extra curricular reasons – things we the fans would never know about.

We cheer him wildly cause he’s the hometown guy and he had a few good years when he first came up (then again, so did Charles Thomas). He struggled last year – fine – then began whining in the media when he was sent down to straighten things out. It’s probably a safe bet that he’s been whining about less playing time in the clubhouse.

I don’t know how many of y’all have played team sports but when you have somebody openly complaining about their playing time it undermines what the team is trying to accomplish and begins to drag down the team while dividing the clubhouse. In other words, I believe Jeff Francouer was a clubhouse cancer and we were trying to unload him – we would have given him away for nothing if rules would allow it. One of the ESPN baseball guys – I think it was Jason Stark – reported that the Braves had been begging teams to take Frenchy and were being laughed at for asking.

With all that being said – there is a third reason to trade away a player – and that’s to get rid of a cancer to the team. It also serves as a wakeup call to the rest of the team that whining and the acceptance of mediocre performance will not fly.

I think Francouer will go on to have a great career and make a few all star teams – but I think there were mental issues to where it would never happen in Atlanta.

eastbound and down

July 16th, 2009
4:02 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if Francoeur’s career paralleled Kenny Powers’ after they left the braves. the only difference would be that Kenny’s downfall was more humorous. That and Powers was a pitcher. ok, two differences.

DAVEinNEPA

July 16th, 2009
4:05 pm

Francouer was basicly a huge hole in our lineup for the last season and a half. If he was here, Cox woud still play him no matter how bad he did. That would be detrimental to the rest of the team IMO.

Is Church going to help us? Maybe not, but Francouer was going to get any better by staying here.

Spud Webb

July 16th, 2009
4:06 pm

I hope he doesn’t get booed. good kid, good work ethic, but is what he is. He wasn’t willing to go back to Gwinnett and work for a few months on things, break it down and start again.
Agreed, Church is nothing more than a “servicable” OF, whatever that means. But lets face it, they had to move frenchy and fast.

Bravedawg

July 16th, 2009
4:08 pm

Suwanee Dawg – why was it a horrible trade? What did you not like about it? What would you have done instead?

Tim

July 16th, 2009
4:09 pm

He’s in the right town to get what he needs to get back into form. From the looks of that baggy shirt he is way past due for an injection. You columnists never shy away from posting something stupid. Why not have the balls to write what we all can see. Lose the needle and you lose your power. He’s not the only one this has happened too and won’t be the last.

Robards

July 16th, 2009
4:09 pm

If the Braves were going to non-tender Francoeur (as DOB surmised and as would be appropriate unless there was dramatic improvement in the second half), then he might as well be moved to get something in return. But maybe Jeff proves that the last two years were just a lengthy Andruw-like slump.

Ray Pugh

July 16th, 2009
4:10 pm

Eastbound, there are more differences: out of the following 3:

1) An arm like a f$ckin’ cannon,
2) A mind like a beartrap,
3) A c$ck like a Burmese python,

… JF only possesses one.

DMac

July 16th, 2009
4:11 pm

It’s a crying shame that the Braves front office and Bobby Cox didn’t make him stay in the minors until he proved himself. They did Franceour and the organization a great disservice by being such wimps.

Old Blue

July 16th, 2009
4:11 pm

Church will be packaged with another decent Brave plus a minor leaguer or two to get a bat for one of the corners in the near future. It could very well work out in the elimination process. One less golfer on the team, more or less.

Brad in Jasper

July 16th, 2009
4:14 pm

I liked the trade. I agree with JS, the end result will probably not make a hill of beans this year or next. BUT. So far what I’ve seen of Church is good patience at the plate. Jeff’s well chronicled problems swinging were getting tiresome to watch. It seems simply like a case of an athletic kid that caught everyone off guard that first year or so, then once pitching adapted to him he was unable to adapt back. Even his last few games with the Braves, he was intentionally taking the first pitch just to satisfy the critics, then it was hack-a-way like usual. Change of scenery should be good for both guys/teams – and I don’t think either ATL/NYM will be better or worse because of it.

slow roller

July 16th, 2009
4:14 pm

Still think getting a decent Batting Coach would be a lot cheaper than dumping all the players that can’t stand Terry Pendleton! Wait til Pendleton is made head coach, then even the pitchers will start sucking illogically. The only reason Conrad is hitting like a fiend is because he hasn’t absorbed the TP philosophy of hitting yet….give TP time and I am sure he will ruin him too!!!!

DMac

July 16th, 2009
4:15 pm

Schultz, if they didn’t have the guts to discipline him, what else could they have done but trade him?

NC Braves Fan

July 16th, 2009
4:17 pm

Whether it was a horrible trade for one side or the other remains to be seen … but it’s pretty safe to say that this was probably the -only- trade offer for Jeff on the table.

Bill

July 16th, 2009
4:17 pm

Frenchy was a bad nickname. Had to get rid of him.

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

July 16th, 2009
4:18 pm

Those who say that they would like to see Frenchy kick some Braves tail are not Braves fan. That being said, I wouldn’t boo him either. He was traded — he didn’t abandon us for him, i.e. Tommy-O.

dap01

July 16th, 2009
4:19 pm

Jeff, obviously you havent watch the Braves and JF like the rest of us have.

Frank Wren traded a 5 tool player without the power, without the speed, without the average, without the baseball instincts who keeps asking for huge raises each year. He was too hardheaded to listen to anybody. How dare he be sent down to the minor leagues.

He is one of the least productive outfielders in the history of Major League Baseball HISTORY.

Rawdog

July 16th, 2009
4:19 pm

Ask Jeff is he likes riding the 7 train in NY with all the other pack rats who live on top of one another. He’ll fit in great in NY’s new park which has the fewest home runs allowed in the majors. Another excuse for him to not to be hitting homers, instead leading the league in inning ending or rally killing double plays. I wonder if he parties with Santana, Reyes, Delgado, and Beltran. They can have a wild party together at Taco Bell after the game.

Brad in Jasper

July 16th, 2009
4:19 pm

A little ambiguous with my last sentence. I meant good for both teams as in “Ahh, that’s nice, a new face” (both teams seemed tired of both guys), not “Ahh that’s nice, new guy will add 10 wins to our total.”

I know much

July 16th, 2009
4:21 pm

I cant wait to get there early tonight and BOO Francouer. From the moment I see that bum step onto the field he will hear my wrath. He is a classic underperformer who under achieved for over two years. And if you think booing is “distasteful” then I suggest you steer clear of Citi Field in about two weeks time when the Mets fans really let Fran-cant have it!

Viva Ryan Church!

Paul H

July 16th, 2009
4:24 pm

Stupid trade. Another bonehead Frank Wren move. I can understand trading him, but not for a guy that’s not an upgrade, and DEFINITELY not to to our division rivals. For his sake, I think he needed out of Atlanta as well. I hope he does well, just not against the Braves.

Paul H

July 16th, 2009
4:25 pm

And why on earth would anyone boo him? He didn’t choose to leave, he was TRADED. Anyone who boos him tonight is a total jack@ss.

Paul H

July 16th, 2009
4:26 pm

Anyone who boos him is a total jack@ss. He was TRADED. He didn’t choose to leave.

Sonny Clusters

July 16th, 2009
4:26 pm

Whoa! Thanks for showing all the love to Jeff, Jeff. When we was playing ball together we was almost always the star and we was almost always on base and driving in runs and scoring. To answer the question, “How much do you think this guy wants to homer tonight?” . . . the only way Jeff will homer tonight is if he steps out of the box so he can reach one of those sliders off the plate. Derek Lowe and most of the baseball world know how to pitch ol’ Jeff when hes in town. If any Braves pitcher gives Jeff anything at all to hit knowing he will swing at the resin bag . . . then Bobby should release that pitcher. The whole league knows how to pitch ol Jeff but if anybody messes up it will probably be Bobby. Lefty righty so to speak. Bring in Chino to pitch to him. We was thinking Bobby might destroy the bullpen over the next few days.

DMac

July 16th, 2009
4:26 pm

He should be booed because he was to arrogant to take coaching, or to stay in the minors until he worked things out.

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 16th, 2009
4:27 pm

I think things had gotten to the point where he wasn’t going to get it done here. Maybe he’ll take advantage of a fresh start and right his ship but still I would have traded him.

I won’t be at the game but if I was, I wouldn’t boo him. Actually I don’t boo anybody. Seems like a total waste of my time to me.

Rawdog

July 16th, 2009
4:30 pm

Jeff couldn’t cut it in the GA penal leagues. Outfielders are paid to hit, not throw out advancing base runners. French dip should quit baseball and go back to football and give it a try. Maybe he could be a white Bo Jackson. I will be buying a Church shirt and wear it proudly at the game Saturday afternoon.

BJE

July 16th, 2009
4:31 pm

I posted what is below on the “fans react” section. Not an hour later another article on Frenchy. I can’t believe how easily the Atlanta fans are manipulated. Honestly, read what I wrote below and see if this doesn’t continue. The only way the AJC stays in business is if the Braves return Jeff to Atlanta in another trade, thus spawning a million new mindless message board posts and hundreds more meaningless columns. This is hilarious manipulation…

“The AJC saw how many hits columns about Frenchy received. Whether it merits coverage or not, like NASCAR.com does with Dale Jr., the AJC was (and is) going to write about Jeff. They need money. If you can’t see this, then the AJC thanks you and encourages you to keep commenting on this topic.

Your continued devouring of this topic caused the trade.”

NEW CARS

July 16th, 2009
4:31 pm

Would you have been willing to go to arbitration with him in the fall….That’s the point, if we weren’t going to go through another year of this same frustration, he had to go now to get anything….I like Frenchie, but the fact is, his bat was killing our offense….I still don’t understand why he wasn’t put in the no. 8 spot…He complained about protection..The way he was going, we could have put the pitcher in front of him and they would have complained about no protection…

DP

July 16th, 2009
4:32 pm

Jeff, Francouer’s OPS for both YTD 2009 and full year 2008 was in the bottom 5 for position players in the National League. Watching his ABs was painful. No recognition of the strike zone. No pitch recognition. No situational hitting ability. Virtually no power. Won’t/can’t take walks.

Chipper Jones basically said Francouer was a lost cause in a blog post you made a few weeks ago. He said Francouer was being told what he was doing wrong but if you can’t feel it you can’t correct it, and Francouer couldn’t feel it.

I don’t care what they got for Francouer. They had to get rid of him so Bobby Cox could no longer put him in the lineup every day. They were going to non-tender him at the end of the season anyway.