Bradley’s Buzz: Frenchy makes an impression in NY minute

The fallout on Francoeur, and there’s a lot of it

The nice thing — well, one of the nice things — about hanging around New York is you can buy four papers a day. Pretty soon, though, you realize most every sports story in all four papers contains the same quotes. (New York writers, of which there are many, tend to travel in packs.) So I won’t offer every link regarding Jeff Francoeur’s arrival, lest we be here all week. I’ll hit the highlights:

• How did the deal happen? According to Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News: “Mets GM Omar Minaya said assistant GM John Ricco suggested investigating the availability of the 25-year-old Francoeur during an afternoon brainstorming session on Thursday. The deal was completed within 24 hours.” (And you think the Braves weren’t thirsting to dump Frenchy?)

• The headline on Jay Greenberg’s post-trade column in the New York Post says it all: “Minaya’s swap is better than doin’ nothing.

• From David Lennon of Newsday comes this analysis: “If Francoeur is as screwed up as the Braves believe him to be — and they rarely dump a player before his time — maybe this will turn out to be a regrettable trade [for the Mets].”

• Esteemed former colleague Tim Smith of the New York Daily News asks how long Francoeur’s honeymoon will last: “Given the up and down nature of the Mets, you wonder how long Francoeur, a homegrown Georgia product who rotted on the vine in Atlanta, will maintain his sunny disposition in Queens. You wonder how long [Mets manager] Jerry Manuel will embrace Francoeur.”

• On MLB.com, Tim Britton describes the Mets’ approach to swing-doctoring Frenchy: ” ‘We’re going to take is we’re going to watch for awhile,’ Manuel said. ‘We’re going to try to let him get as comfortable as he can possibly get without trying to make these types of changes.’ ”

• In Newsday, Roderick Boone quotes Francoeur as saying he’s happy to be playing in a pro-sports town: ” ‘I’ve always loved the fans up here, loved the passion,’ Francoeur said. ‘That’s something you don’t get down south. Up here, it’s pro sports. Down by us, it’s always the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, SEC, Alabama. Up here, this is it. It’s the Mets, it’s the Yankees, it’s the Giants, it’s the Knicks, and that’s what I’m looking forward to is coming to a place where the fans are so passionate, and care and pack the place out every night.’ ”

Ben Shipgel of the New York Times reports that Francoeur’s last name was misspelled on the Mets’ clubhouse lineup board before Saturday’s game.

Mike Puma of the New York Post reports Francoeur’s first at-bat as a Met yielded “maybe the cheapest two-run single in Citi Field history.”

• Writes Larry Brooks of the New York Post: “Francoeur is no savior. He is a reclamation project seeking to find plate discipline and consistency on a reclamation project of a team seeking to pitch, throw, catch, run and hit like a professional outfit rather than the stumblebums they’ve been for more than a month.”

After two games as a Met, Francoeur is 4-for-9 with two RBI and only one strikeout. And the Mets are 2-0, having drawn within a half-game of Frenchy’s former club for third place in the NL East.

OK, OK. Who got the better of the deal?

According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Braves did. (Link requires registration.) Writes Olney:

“I liked this trade for the Braves because [Ryan] Church will fit in nicely into the three-guys-for-two-spots platoon with Matt Diaz and Garret Anderson, and he’s got a better chance to put the ball in play more consistently hitting in the No. 6 and No. 7 spot in the Atlanta lineup. And given where Francoeur is in his career, trying to find himself at the plate and become more disciplined, I just wonder if New York might be the absolute worst place for him right now. If he struggles and then has one of those nights when he sees seven pitches and goes 0-for-5, the fans there will let him have it. Hopefully, for his sake and for the sake of the Mets, it’ll turn out to be a great match — a high-energy player for a high-anxiety atmosphere, that’ll bring out the best in Francoeur.

“The fact the Braves moved him is hardly a surprise; rival GMs expected the Braves to non-tender him at the end of this year if they had kept him through the full season because of the depths of his struggles.”

Don’t do it for Kovy’s sake!

I took this selection from Rory Boylen of the Hockey News as something of a rebuttal to my little effort of last week. (Thanks to Wayne in Tuskegee for passing along the link.) I’d written that Thrashers GM Don Waddell is making moves in large measure to persuade Ilya Kovalchuk to re-up. Boylen thinks that’s bad policy. He writes:

“Kovalchuk is a dynamic player whose caliber doesn’t come around often, but if he is unwilling to commit to the team, I’m not sure the GM should be committing the team to him. If Atlanta struggles again next year despite Waddell’s efforts, Kovy will be gone and the Thrashers will be a misfit team without direction.

Perhaps Waddell should urge Kovy to sign a one- or two-year deal to give the team ample time to correct itself and get its new ownership group on the same page. Then, if he is still unhappy with the direction, by all means, trade him or let him sign with a winner.

But Atlanta shouldn’t be hastily building a team in a year to appease one player with an expiring contract –- it’s just too risky and too short-term.”

In the abstract, I’d agree. But the harsh reality is that, if the Thrashers can’t hold Kovalchuk, they’ll be starting over after a decade in business. And their chances of keeping him are better than finding a big-name free agent willing to come here and replace him. The future of the Thrash essentially hangs on one man’s whim: Like it or not, Waddell has to placate that one man.

And speaking of whimsy …

What, you’re asking, is Jim Harrick doing these days? According to Hall of Famer writer Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald-Leader — Jerry’s an esteemed former colleague, as is John Clay, who passed along the link — Harrick surfaced at the adidas-sponsored It Takes 5ive basketball camp at the University of Cincinnati last week.

Harrick, you should know, was serving as an assistant coach for Pump N Run, a summer-league team based in southern California. Writes Tipton: “Harrick said he was helping coach the team as a favor to Pump N Run officials who are long-time fixtures in recruiting circles.”

I have four words for you: Supply your own punchline.

145 comments Add your comment

Jack Hass

July 13th, 2009
10:29 am

Go Frenchy. Hope he has a long career.

Chris

July 13th, 2009
10:39 am

I’ll root for Frenchy, but I hope he doesn’t hit well anytime he plays the Braves. He’s a Met. You have to draw the line right.

Of course, the Braves know he’ll swing at anything in Eric Gregg’s old strike zone, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Chris

July 13th, 2009
10:40 am

*You have to draw the line right there.

brave1

July 13th, 2009
10:47 am

The Mets better not ever think of sending him to the Minor leagues because “he’ll remember it” when it’s contract time!
How insulting and unfair!

Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

July 13th, 2009
10:51 am

I dare say 4-9 does not “The rebirth of a ‘Natural’” make.

jeffrey d

July 13th, 2009
10:52 am

Well said, Chris. You gotta pull for Francoeur. As much as people seemed to hate him here (and as awful as he was) he still tried and never dogged it. Kinda hard to root for him though because if he plays well, that means the Mets play better.

Dark Helmet

July 13th, 2009
10:55 am

Why within your own division where the guy will be pumped to play against his former team and get Braves fans cheering for him?

Better than to the Rangers where Rudy would get him hitting 350 and making Bobby look bad for keeping inep TP.

May the Schwartz be with you.

ND

July 13th, 2009
10:59 am

Well it appears he just needed a change in his jersey number. He shouldn’t even ask J. Reyes if he can have #7.

Gov. Clinton Tyree

July 13th, 2009
11:01 am

I sure didn’t hate him, but I hated his.600-ish OPS. Deeply, with passion.

I thought when he hit a two-run jack to tie the game in – late May, I think it was – and Chipper said he “ran into one”, that told you everything you needed to know about his teammates. Pulling for him, hoping he’d start to get it, but ultimately a vote of no confidence. Or no clue.

Mrs. Bong is right. Frenchy has a way of looking good for a while then fading badly. Kind of like Melanie Griffith or Kirstie Alley.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 13th, 2009
11:05 am

I’m pulling for JF but if I hear one more person claim it was a bad trade cause he went 4 for 9 and Church has only 1 hit, I’m going to go Chuck Norris on someone.

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:06 am

Melanie Griffith I still remember from the much-underrated Gene Hackman movie “Night Moves.”

Reid Adair

July 13th, 2009
11:06 am

When (not if) Francoeur gets into one of his slumps, look out. If he thought the criticism from the media and the fans in Atlatna was bad, he ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:07 am

As we know, it’s always a good idea to judge a trade on two games.

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:09 am

You know, Reid, I’m not so sure the New York media will be any tougher on Francoeur than Braves fans were. He’s not arriving as a big-money free agent; as Larry Brooks wrote, he’s “a reclamation project.” The expectations on him can’t be any higher up there than down here. I doubt they’ll be half so high.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 13th, 2009
11:11 am

Gov, great comparison. Although Melanie Griffith? She was marginal at her peek. I was thinking more about the chick from the White Snake videos. Wheeew, what a slide.

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:16 am

Tawny Kitaen would be the redhead in question.

Chris

July 13th, 2009
11:16 am

Mark, I think Olney has the best quote of everybody you included.

I lived in New York for a summer, went to some Braves-Mets games, and saw how the Mets “faithful” rip their so-called beloved stars after they go hitless in just one game. They have no sense of how a season plays out or a sense of how streaky life can be as a hitter.

The mentality is: “if you don’t get 3 hits on the day I’m at the park, get outta town.” (Of course, what they really say is far more demoralizing.) Sure, he’s 4 for 9 in two games, but if Frenchy couldn’t take a brief demotion from Bobby – just a TAD better a players’ manager than Jerry Manuel – how will he take criticism from the Citi Field lowbrows in right field?

It ain’t a good match. New York’s a great place, but stay outta Queens.

Chris

July 13th, 2009
11:21 am

By the way, the Bobby/Manuel comparison was sarcasm, but that’s hard to detect on the Web. Manuel absolutely blows.

Gov. Clinton Tyree

July 13th, 2009
11:22 am

Yeah, Bank, that didn’t end well. Remember Bachelor Party? Tawny was smokin’. Say ‘no’ to drugs, I guess…

I assume Chuck Finley finally divorced her, but he was the one on the wrong end of that deal.

And while we’re on this scintillating topic of Melanie and Tawny, I can’t think of one chick who looks better after those collagen injections. They all look like freaks, and not in a good way.

Left to Right

July 13th, 2009
11:26 am

What, you couldn’t find/create a Tony Cole story?

Poopy Pants

July 13th, 2009
11:28 am

Braves definitely got a better end of the deal than the Mets… if Church can stay healthy. He’s one concussion away from possibly ending his career. Not many followed his recovery here in Atlanta, but being an avid fantasy baseball owner of Ryan Church (I can hear snickering already), he was dizzy and pretty ill for about 5 or 6 months. I can’t imagine a noggin that could take another blow like that.

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:28 am

Tony Cole … Tony Cole … name doesn’t register, I’m afraid.

And Chris, from what I’ve read — and I’ve read a lot these past three days — Manuel soured on Church for no real reason. At least when Cox sours on someone, he has a reason.

MatthewH

July 13th, 2009
11:28 am

So the story from the NY Post quotes him as saying that plate discipline is “not something I worry about”. That says it all right there.

Enough, Enough Enough Already.

July 13th, 2009
11:29 am

Mark Bradley – Why can’t you let the whole Jeff Francouer thing go? He is no longer a Brave, which I know thrills you and all of the bloggers that follow you, so why don’t you be a human being and leave him alone. Was this blog really necessary? Or do you just like pouring salt into a deep wound? For the love of all things decent, let the subject go.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 13th, 2009
11:29 am

Yes, Jeff was a shooting star like her, I mean smoking hot, then fell on hard times in the ATL. Tawny today: http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/tawny-kitaen/176293
Chris, I agree. They are relentless on the Second basemen up there. That guys family is brought up every at bat.

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:29 am

Of course, if Yunel Escobar clocks Ryan Church again, that’ll be just one more reason for Cox to get mad at his shortstop.

Chris

July 13th, 2009
11:31 am

Mark, I agree with you on Manuel. No need to question my Bobby Supporter credentials. See my sarcasm note under my post.

Mac

July 13th, 2009
11:32 am

I hope Harrick banked some cash over the years. Nah, not really.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 13th, 2009
11:33 am

Poopy, you may be right. Mets did the guy a real favor by boarding him on a jet right after one of those concussions.
MB, the Tony Cole story never gets old.

Chris

July 13th, 2009
11:36 am

MatthewH – so true.

Mac

July 13th, 2009
11:36 am

Melanie Griffith’s best role was in the underrated Paul Newman film, “Nobody’s Fool.”

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 13th, 2009
11:37 am

MB, you are right, it wouldn’t take Escobar a lot to get back in the dog house. It almost as if he stopped Bobby from beating Mrs. Cox or something.

Bama Aaron

July 13th, 2009
11:40 am

In the long run I think the Braves get the better of this trade. Church will be a more consistent hitter in the long run. I hated giving up Frenchy’s arm in right until I saw Church unload on a throw to 3rd yesterday that Chipper caught at his shoulder…no more worries there.
Only thing in your article I kinda hated seeing was Frenchy’s small barb at southern fans. Sure the south is more of a college area, but he’d been warmly embraced by this area until he starting swinging at anything in the zip code. We’ll see how he like those northern fans after he puts up a 1 for 21 that you know is coming.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 13th, 2009
11:41 am

Why is it whenever someone mentions a Melanie Griffith movie, it is alway underrated. Tawny’s best role was in the awesome movie “Bachlor Party”

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:42 am

I don’t disagree with the premise of Francoeur’s quote — he’s dead-on — but it did seem a little disingenuous to me, too. Ask him, say, if he still follows the Clemson Tigers.

Chris

July 13th, 2009
11:43 am

Bama Aaron – when you see Braves fans doing the wave in the 7th inning of a tie game, don’t you see a lack of passion?

I hate to see Francouer say that as well, but he’s got a point. Braves fans stopped showing up for the baseball game long ago.

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:43 am

Am I to believe nobody saw Ms. Griffith in the Brian de Palma opus “Body Double”?

Bama Aaron

July 13th, 2009
11:43 am

Disagree Bank Walker…her best role was in the Whitesnake video..I can still picture her rolling around on those cars. Shame what she turned into.

Mac

July 13th, 2009
11:45 am

It was underrated because of its standing in Newman’s career, not in Griffith’s. By the way, she lifted her shirt. That’s what made it such a fine performance.

Bama Aaron

July 13th, 2009
11:46 am

Oh I agree Chris. I don’t totally dispute what he said. Braves fans are not the most impassioned. Most noise I’ve heard in the stadium all season was the Yankees & Red Sox series…from their fans.
I just hate hearing a player take a shot at the fans when it was the organization that let him go.

Chris

July 13th, 2009
11:47 am

Being born in 1987 makes it sort of difficult to comment on Melanie Griffith. I’m still kind of stuck on Heather Graham’s, um, performance in The Hangover.

NC Braves Fan

July 13th, 2009
11:49 am

Gov. Clinton Tyree: the Kirstie Alley comparison also doesn’t wash. She has a higher career OPS than Jeff. ;-)

Gov. Clinton Tyree

July 13th, 2009
11:51 am

OK, Chris, imagine, if you will, Heather Graham turning into a hag.

Kicking and screaming all the way, with bad plastic surgery and all that Hollywood collagen crap. That’s why those of us of a certain age are mourning Tawny and Melanie. It was the best of times….

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:52 am

Born in 1987? I’ve got shoes — I still wear them, FYI — older than you, child.

I was born in ‘87 myself — 1887.

Bama Aaron

July 13th, 2009
11:53 am

born in 1987? OMG I feel old now… that was the start of my senior year of high school. good times :)

Gov. Clinton Tyree

July 13th, 2009
11:54 am

NC Braves Fan: Who doesn’t? And when Kirstie hits her weight, that’s like, say, Prince Fielder. It really means something.

Mark Bradley

July 13th, 2009
11:57 am

Didn’t Kirstie Alley used to be married to Parker Stevenson, who played Frank on “The Hardy Boys”? (I believe Shaun Cassidy, David’s brother, played Joe. And Pamela Sue Martin — who wound up on “Dynasty” but then disappeared — played the lead on “Nancy Drew.”)

Gov. Clinton Tyree

July 13th, 2009
11:57 am

OK, I’ve really got to get back to work. I can’t sit here and crap on Francoeur and Tawny and Kirstie and Melanie all day. It’s not like they pay me to write 15 blogs a week or something.

Hey Mark, isn’t that like being a gynecologist or a pharmacist or something? Get tired of all the fun all the time, kind of loses its meaning?

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 13th, 2009
11:57 am

NC, yeah but Kirstie can’t hit her weight. Bama, you’re right. And Melanie made one diddy with Jeff so and so where she was some hot crazy chick, pretty good flick. Also, showed her boob in the movie with Harrison Ford. It covered the whole screen. “I’ve got a mind for business and a body for sin”

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

July 13th, 2009
12:00 pm

Kirstie Alley used to be married to John Travolta. Remember? They had a baby together who could talk without moving his mouth. He sounded a lot like Bruce Willis.