Tag: jeff francoeur

Jeff Francoeur Requests Trade

Two days after Fernando Martinez was promoted to — presumably — take playing time away from Jeff Francoeur, Francoeur’s representatives have let the Mets know he is open to a trade.

From Andy McCullough’s article in the Star-Ledger:

“We want to play every day,” Francoeur’s agent Molly Fletcher said yesterday. “We prefer to play in New York. But if we’re not going to play every day in New York, we absolutely welcome the opportunity to play every day somewhere else.”

As much as I like Francoeur, he’s in no position to request a trade. In fact, I’m not even sure he’s in a position to request room service. His current, horrendous slump has put him in this predicament. Two game-winning homeruns are not enough to negate 15 hits in his last 88 at-bats.

I doubt anyone is banging down the Mets’ door begging for Francoeur, and his request for a trade makes it that much more difficult for the team to get anything of value in return. If he and his agents were smart they would keep quiet and wait to be non-tendered in the offseason — at which point Francoeur will have the opportunity to market his wares to 29 other teams.

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Mets Game 110: Win Over Phillies

Mets 1 Phillies 0

The Mets played the role of spoiler, beating the Phillies and knocking the reigning NL East champions a game further from the Braves, who also won on Saturday evening.

Game Notes

Johan Santana was brilliant, shutting out the Phillies through 7 1/3 and allowing only 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 6.

The hero of the game was none other than the oft-maligned Jeff Francoeur, who blasted a solo homerun to create the only score of the ballgame.

Interestingly, a “rocket” was requested of Francoeur when Alex Cora exited the clubhouse and the team. Per the Associated Press:

When popular and well-respected infielder Alex Cora was released by the team on Saturday afternoon he told Francoeur to “hit a rocket” that night against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I didn’t promise him a home run. I don’t do that,” Francoeur said, with a laugh. “I’m not Babe Ruth, but I promised him I’d try.”

For one swing, Francoeur got his Ruthian result, and it traveled just over the right-field wall. It came on a day when he was told by manager Jerry Manuel that he would platoon with Fernando Martinez, who was called up with second baseman Ruben Tejada. Francoeur also hit a game-winning home run on Aug. 3 off Atlanta’s Billy Wagner.

“If my name is in the lineup, I’ll play,” Francoeur said. “That’s all I can do.”

Cole Hamels was tough on the Mets, allowing only 6 hits, no walks, and striking out 11 in 7 innings. The Francoeur homer was the only blemish of Hamels’ performance.

Francisco Rodriguez miraculously converted a 5-out save, working out of a stressful bases-loaded jam in the 8th. I have to admit my faith was waning when he took the mound — even if he is paid very handsomely to do this type of thing. It took him 34 pitches to earn his 24th save — could that make him unavailable on Sunday? I’m guessing no.

Speaking of the Santana removal, my wife asked me four times why Johan was taken out, and I had no plausible answer. In hindsight, it’s easy to provide an explanation — after all, it worked out fine. But at the time, well, as Jerry Manuel might say, “that’s a good question”.

This was the first 1-0, 9-inning win for the Mets this season. They won a rain-shortened 1-0 game earlier in the year but that was it.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match occurs at 1:35 PM on Sunday afternoon. R.A. Dickey faces Roy Halladay. Now you tell me: if it was April, would you feel nearly as confident as you do right now about that matchup? Baseball is a funny game — and good for R.A. for rising to this level. He has reached a point where we will be mildly surprised if he doesn’t give the Mets an excellent chance to win against a superior team with possibly the best pitcher in baseball on the mound.

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F-Mart and Tejada Scratched

In a mysteriously salacious move, both Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada were scratched from the Buffalo Bisons’ Friday night game (hat tip to MacksMets via Twitter).

Could Tejada and F-Mart be on their way to another organization, as part of a post-deadline trade? Or, could they both be on their way to the Mets, to take the place of players on the current 25-man roster who are being sent away?

Hmmm ….

The Mets might be silly enough to try to make a desperation deal, but for whom, I have no idea. Carlos Zambrano? Manny Ramirez? Adam Dunn? Vernon Wells?

Bringing in Manny would make the most sense from the standpoint of selling tickets. Dunn or Ramirez would make the most sense in terms of improving the offense. Zambrano is a frightening thought, even if Oliver Perez is part of the deal. Vernon Wells is similarly scary, considering the length of his deal.

Perhaps it is more likely that the Mets are trading two (or more?) current MLBers and in turn will be replacing them on the roster with Tejada and Martinez. So we’d guess the players would be an infielder and an outfielder. Could some team be interested in Luis Castillo? Or the gritty Alex Cora? If it’s Castillo, the Mets would certainly have to pick up a big chunk of his salary. Maybe Jeff Francoeur is on the move? Or Carlos Beltran?

My guess is Francoeur is most likely on the move, maybe to Boston — a team in need of a corner outfielder and a team that has shown some interest in Francoeur in the past. The Red Sox are also in need of a second sacker, with Dustin Pedroia still on the DL. Jed Lowrie is doing an OK to pretty good job filling in, but you never know — this is the same team that gave Julio Lugo an obscene 4 year/$36M deal. They also had an overvalued appreciation for Cora.

According to reports, the Bosox have worked out Carlos Delgado as a possible fill-in for Kevin Youkilis. That in itself should be enough evidence that the “braintrust” in Boston is not thinking clearly, and ripe for a ridiculous deal.

All of this, of course, is conjecture. The scratches of Tejada and F-Mart may have meant nothing at all. We will soon find out.

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Mets Game 107: Win Over Braves

Mets 3 Braves 2

This is EXACTLY the reason the 2010 Mets are so endearing: when they are backed up against a wall, they come back fighting!

Shame on all the impatient, critical naysayers who hit the panic button after the Mets dropped the opener in Atlanta — this team is for real and is poised to go on a rampage! In this dramatic come-from-behind win, the Mets proved they have guts, grit, and a tenacious will to win. My guess is that the locals will recall memories of General Sherman by the time the Mets leave Atlanta.

And who would be the one to carry the Mets to a ninth inning victory? None other than the team’s #1 clubhouse personality and all-around great guy Jeff Francoeur, who silenced the critics with an opposite-field solo homer off of former Met Billy Wagner to put New York ahead for good. Prior to the game, many wondered why in the world Jerry Manuel wrote Francoeur’s name into the lineup against Derek Lowe. After Francoeur’s game-winning blast, is there any question? It amazes me that amateurs are always second-guessing Manuel, thinking they know better. It’s nights like these that make it obvious why we are all doing what we’re doing for a living, while Manuel makes three-quarters of a million dollars to do what he does. The man knows how to play the matchups, and has a knack for making great hunches — no amount of experience, intelligence, or calculator-punching can re-create that skill; it’s innate.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey impressed with yet another strong outing, this time plowing through 6 innings and allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks. He ran into a few jams but worked out of them with a dancing knuckler and uflappable demeanor. I think his performance was something of an inspiration for Francoeur.

Speaking of, Francoeur scored two of the Mets runs — and his doghouse roommate Luis Castillo scored the third. So there, all you judgemental critics!

As great as Francoeur and Castillo were in this game, one cannot overlook the spectacular performances of Manny Acosta and Francisco Rodriguez. Acosta was throwing BBs through an inning and two-thirds, earning the victory while bridging the gap to K-Rod. Francisco was fabulous, expending a baker’s dozen worth of pitches in a perfect ninth to seal the victory and earn his 23rd save of the season.

Bobby Cox made some very strange moves in this game, and his players made some very un-Coxlike non-executions. In particular, I’m not sure why Cox had Rick Ankiel bunting at the first pitch with none out and a Alex Gonzalez on first after a leadoff walk in the 7th, especially when Acosta appeared to be struggling to throw strikes. Cox took the bunt off after one strike, but why give Acosta a strike there and why take a strike away from Ankiel? Maybe Cox thought Ankiel was still a pitcher. Later that inning, Gonzalez took off for second and was thrown out by ten feet in what must’ve been a missed hit-and-run. Since Gonzalez just joined the team recently, maybe he misunderstood a sign? Or maybe Melky Cabrera missed the sign. In any case, the caught stealing was huge, as it was the second out of the inning and Cabrera walked on the very next pitch. Acosta would have been in a very sticky situation had it been one out and men on first and second rather than two out and a man on first — who knows how things might’ve turned out?

Next Mets Game

The rubber match begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night in Atlanta. Mike Pelfrey goes to the hill against Chris Medlen.

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Mets Game 100: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 8 Cardinals 2

Clearly, the Mets front office knows EXACTLY what they’re doing.

Because after coming to the decision that Jerry Manuel and his coaching staff were the right people to be in charge, and in particular decided that no one should be a scapegoat for an underperforming offense, the Mets went right out and POUNDED the mighty St. Louis Cardinals. And not only did they beat the Cardinals handily, but they demolished the otherwise outstanding Adam Wainwright — the same Adam Wainwright who had 14 wins and had spun 26 consecutive scoreless innings. The Mets didn’t stop by merely ending his scoreless streak, they stung him to the tune of six runs on six hits and three walks in five innings — no easy feat.

As Jerry Manuel so astutely pointed out in the postgame, the Mets not only won the game, but they “… erased the doubt, coming home …” (please be sure to read that quote as slowly as possible for full effect). I, for one, am completely convinced: the Mets are awesome.

Ironically, the Mets won without their spirited skipper, who was serving a suspension. Hey, wait … many people wanted someone else managing the Mets, someone else did, and the Mets won. Hmmm ….

Leading the offensive charge was none other than Jeff Francoeur. As anyone with a calculator knows, Francoeur is terrible — easily the worst player on the Mets. Yet, it was Francoeur who blasted a three-run homer against the previously invincible Wainwright in the fourth inning to put the Mets ahead for good. If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and Francoeur is that weak link, then I am afraid to think what the Mets will do to less-talented NL pitchers.

Game Notes

Jonathon Niese was once again spectacular, spinning six innings and allowing only one run on 7 hits and 2 walks, to earn his 7th win of the season. For the first time this year I liked his arm angle — it was more overhand and more consistent, which gave him good bite on his best pitch (curveball) and made it difficult for the Cardinals hitters to know what was coming. Keep that slot, Jon!

Jose Reyes mashed his seventh homer of the year, a bullet into the upper deck of the Pepsi Porch in right field. I think it’s safe to say he is over the oblique thing.

With his three-run dinger, Jeff Francoeur‘s BABOF (Batting Average on Balls Over the Fence) remains a stellar 1.000.

Carlos Beltran broke out of his slump with a 2-for-3 day, ripping an opposite-field double and poking a Texas Leaguer to drive in a run. He batted in the five hole, which is a better spot for him and the team as he gets back in the groove. Whatever happened to taking it slow and having him play only 2-3 times a week at the outset?

During 1050ESPN’s Michael Kay Show on Tuesday afternoon, Don La Greca positively guaranteed a Mets win on this evening. He’s much better at predictions than I.

Next Mets Game

The Mets continue their assault on the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night at 7:10 PM. I’m not clear on who is starting for either team, but several websites are saying it will be Hisanori Takahashi vs. Jaime Garcia. However, we’re also hearing that Johan Santana will pitch instead. Not that it matters — the Mets can set up a tee for St. Louis and they’ll still have a good shot at beating their brains in. The Mets are on a roll, and there is no stopping them!

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Jason Bay Out: Deja Vu All Over Again

According to a tweet by Kevin Burkhardt, Jason Bay is suffering from a mild concussion and may be out for this three-game series vs. the Cardinals. Apparently, he felt symptoms on the plane trip back from the Left Coast. Cross-country plane trip? Concussion? Corner outfielder? Where have I heard this story before?

Additionally, Jerry Manuel has been suspended for his “ump bump” in Los Angeles.

Further, Rod Barajas was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained oblique. Corner infield slugger Mike Hessman was promoted from AAA to take his place on the roster. Hessman has hit 9 HR in his last 78 MLB at-bats, spanning two years (2007-2008). How does one smack one homer every 8.7 ABs and not get a chance to play for a year and a half?

With Bay, Jeff Francoeur returns to RF and Angel Pagan moves to left. It would be nice to see Chris Carter get some playing time but that doesn’t appear in the plans. Francoeur has 3 hits in 11 ABs (.273) vs. Adam Wainwright, and will get the start this evening. Josh Thole catches in place of Barajas and I imagine will get the bulk of the duty back there for the next two weeks.

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Mets Game 75: Win Over Twins

Mets 6 Twins 0

The Mets complete interleague play in dominant fashion.

By shutting out the Twins, the Mets finish the season with a 13-5 record in interleague play. Let’s hope they play one more series against an American League team before the end of 2010.

Game Notes

Jon Niese shut out the Twins through 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5 in a 104-pitch effort. As is usually the case, he had the slider / slurve / cutter working but wasn’t getting the really sharp bite and command of the curve. It’s generally one or the other, rarely both, and that’s because of his arm angle. When he comes more over the top, the curve has the bite and he can keep it in the strike zone, but the cutter / slider stays flat. When he uses more of a three-quarter angle, he gets better bite on the slider but the curve isn’t quite as sharp as usual. The good news is, his curve didn’t look bad — it was just a little lacking in bite. That’s good news because it appears as though he’s getting close to finding an arm angle that will work for both pitches.

David Wright, Jeff Francoeur, and Ike Davis were the stars of the game — each hit a homer and together they combined for 5 RBI and 4 runs scored.

Jesus Feliciano also scored a run and had 3 hits in 5 ABs. No one has missed Angel Pagan while Feliciano has filled in — much like, no one has missed Carlos Beltran while Pagan has filled in.

Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He is only 34 games short of the single-season NL record of 44 held by Pete Rose and Wee Willie Keeler.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go back to playing the National League on Monday in Puerto Rico, as R.A. “Mr. Perfect” Dickey faces Ricky “Mr. .500” Nolasco. Game time is 7:10 PM.

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