"If on-base percentage is so important, then why don't they put it on the scoreboard?"
The author of those words of wisdom, twenty-five year old Jeffrey Braden Francoeur
, is now a New York Met and I can hardly believe it. I can't even muster the energy to be sarcastic about this. Jeff Francoeur
is terrible at playing baseball. And now he's going to be in right field every day.
Francoeur is hitting .250/.282/.352 this season for an OPS+ of 68. This makes him the new worst hitter in the Mets lineup, by a decent margin. Yes, even on days when Omir Santos is starting. There are only three hitters in the National League with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title and a lower OBP than Francoeur's .282. And while the fact that one of them is Jimmy Rollins is hilarious, it doesn't change the fact that Frenchy is having a truly terrible year at the plate.
And there can be no argument that this is some kind of slump that he might be ready to bust out of, because he had an almost identical line last year. The only difference seems to be that he's walking even less this year. Even when he was "good" in 2006 and 2007, he wasn't actually good. He may have driven in 100 runs both of those years, but he also put together a combined line of .276/.315/.446 and an OPS+ of 95. Yes, even in his best days, he was a below average hitter. Not exactly the stuff that corner outfield stars are made of.
Francoeur does apparently play very good defense, or at least have a very good arm, but then so does the man he's been traded for. Ryan Church can play right field well. He can also play center field, saving the Mets from playing Angel Pagan or Jeremy Reed every day. And, oh yeah, he can get on base every once in a while. Church is by no means a great player, but the one thing Francoeur can do, Church can also do. The fact that he is also not completely hopeless with a bat in his hands is just an added bonus.
There's been talk of Jerry Manuel and/or others in the Mets organization not liking Church for a long time and I guess this just about confirms that. Church didn't always live up to expectations and he had some bad luck with the concussions last year, but when he was able and allowed to get on the field, he was a solid contributor. It would certainly have been possible for the Mets to upgrade the right field position, but they did not do that here. They traded a decent player for one of the worst hitters in the game. And they're going to play him every day. I don't know how much more of this season I can take.