Tag: ryan church

Mets Induct Lasorda and Other Oddities

Did you know that the Mets are the keepers of the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame? Me neither, but thanks to Metstradamus I also know that Tommy Lasorda was inducted into it this past Sunday.

Matt Cerrone likes the cream-colored shirts that the Mets were wearing this weekend. I don’t — to me they’re similar to the color of the Padres unis, always looking dirty or somehow “off” — but I would welcome them for no reason other than the Brooklyn Dodgers never wore cream, and anything that can be done to distance the Mets from the Dodgers is to me a step in the right direction.

We finally get an inkling on Jerry Manuel’s true thoughts on Ryan Church (i.e., he doesn’t think he’s very tough). Hat tip to Kranepool Society, which also reminds us that as bad as the Mets are playing, a winter without baseball is worse.

MetsPolice has a gripe about the Mets’ decision to slash ticket prices.

Finally, Josh Alper of NBC New York thinks a decision on Jerry Manuel’s future should be made right now.


Brave Opinions of Jeff Francoeur

Likely you’ve read all you can find from the New York press and blogosphere in regard to the Ryan Church – Jeff Francoeur trade.

Here are a few of the opinion of Francoeur from the Braves’ perspective:

The Francoeur trade: A Sad But Necessary Ending


“This is how much the Braves wanted rid of Jeff Francoeur: They traded him to a team they’ll play 19 times a year, which means they’d rather put themselves in the repeated position of losing to him than have kept him around here. That’s how far the Golden Child had fallen, and how fast.”

He’s Frenchy, as in Benchy, and he could soon be gone

“It takes Cox a lot longer to lose faith than it does, say, Lou Piniella. Cox believes until he’s given reason to stop believing, but when he stops … well, that’s about all she wrote. … Francoeur was extended an even longer grace period — we’re now going on a second calendar year of his laboriously documented flailings — but has simply ceased being a competent big-league hitter.”

Excerpt from the Braves blog Talking Chop:

“Church doesn’t represent a real upgrade in the power department, though he certainly uses more of his ability than Francoeur does, but he is an equal defender and is better at getting on base. … On first blush I like this trade. We get a better hitter, even if we did have to give up the once-face of the franchise (but that ship sailed a while ago). The risk here is that Francoeur figures something out and comes back to bite us time and again, but the odds of that happening are pretty slim if you’ve watched Francoeur over the last couple of years.”

From Rowland’s Office:

“He ain’t Roberto Clemente, but Ryan Church is a better player than Pan, period. It would appear the home team got the better end of this one. … I’m surprised we got this much for Pan. … The deal is getting a surprisingly, to me, good reception at Metsblog.com, a high-profile, yeah, Mets blog. Those fellows are choosing to view Pan as a young player with upside. Good luck, gents.”

From David Lee at Braves Buzz:

“Thank the Lord. Hallelujah. I’m standing and cheering. Jeff Francoeur has been traded to the Mets for Ryan Church.

My first reaction: the Mets? Wow. The Mets. Probably the last place Francoeur wanted to go and try to work things out. I already know Mets fans don’t want the guy, just imagine how it’ll be when Jeff grounds into double play after double play. A negative atmosphere is not something he’s used to. I wonder how he’ll handle it.

My second reaction: the Braves absolutely robbed the Mets of Church. For the Braves to get anything at all for Francoeur is shocking in itself, but to get a capable lefty hitter who can be plugged into right field immediately is amazing to me. I mean, it’s not even my place to evaluate Church and his flaws because of the fact that the Braves got him for Francoeur.”

From Chop-N-Change:

“MLBTR says that we may have traded Jeff Francoeur. To the Mets. For Ryan Church. Straight up.

I don’t believe it either, but I couldn’t resist putting a smile on your face for the few minutes till it gets denied…”

No need to panic, Mets fans. Maybe all those people who have watched Jeff Francoeur on a daily basis (as noted by Omar Minaya, he does play every day) are a little off on their assessment of Atlanta’s former golden boy. You know, like Mets fans who unreasonably evaluated the performance of Scott Schoeneweis. Yeah.


Mets Trade Ryan Church for Jeff Francoeur

The Mets have traded Ryan Church to the Atlanta Braves for Jeff Francoeur, according to GM Omar Minaya.

My initial, gut reaction is, I’m going to miss Church, who never really got a true opportunity to play every day under Jerry Manuel, but in Francoeur, the Mets get a younger, more physically talented outfielder, who plays the game the right way — much like Church does. My next gut reaction is, “whoa, why were the Braves so eager to rid themselves of a young, highly talented, local boy like Francoeur? What do they know that they’re not telling us?”

From all accounts, though Francoeur was the golden boy in Atlanta as recently as a year and a half ago, something changed when GM Frank Wren gained full control of the club’s personnel. Some kind of rift between the two occurred that was never healed, and Wren has been looking to move Francoeur for months (most recently he offered him to the Marlins for Cody Ross).

Similarly, something occurred in Jerry Manuel’s head that caused him to hate Ryan Church. We don’t know what, we don’t know why, and the two can deny it until their deathbeds, but the writing was on the wall: Manuel didn’t like Church, and the organization as a whole never saw Church as an everyday player. Going to Atlanta and Bobby Cox will be an outstanding change for Church. I believe very strongly that Church, under Cox and playing “the Braves Way”, can and will blossom into a good, not great, complementary everyday rightfielder.

Meantime, Francoeur’s change in scenery could prove equally fruitious (damn I hope so!). Clearly, he strikes out way too much, and doesn’t take pitches, and that will drive us nuts. But he also has the raw talent to be a star. Whether he realizes that potential is anyone’s guess — and part of his problem is he’s as stubborn as a mule when it comes to changing his approach. If he doesn’t ever “get” the idea of plate discipline, he’ll be the offensive version of Oliver Perez — an eternal, frustrating enigma.

What I do like about Francoeur is he appears to have a strong personality, and maybe he can be the guy who turns the tide in the clubhouse. He plays hard, and if he’s performing well, he could be an influencer / leader. We’ll see.

Interesting to note that Minaya mentioned — about 18 times — that Francoeur is “an everyday player”. I wonder if the front office is sending the message to Jerry Manuel that Francoeur WILL BE penciled into the lineup every single day, and enough with the inane mixing and matching.

Minaya also pointed out that Francoeur is “better suited to Citi Field” because, “…although Ryan Church was a very good fielder, players around the league will tell you that Jeff Francoeur covers a lot of ground …” and, “…he has a very strong arm.” Wait, Omar … didn’t you just describe Ryan Church? Doesn’t Church cover a lot of ground, and have a very strong arm? Meh.

So much for Jeremy Reed’s chance to get some playing time — with Francoeur coming in and Angel Pagan off the DL, Reed goes back to being Gary Sheffield’s late-inning caddy.

Also strange, during the press conference, was Minaya’s comment that “guys who pull the ball are able to take advantage of that left field wall” in Citi Field, and Francoeur fits that definition of pull hitter. Really? Where’s the evidence? Because two or three opponents jerked hanging curveballs into the left field seats? Because Sheffield planted one or two out there? Until the “Soot Monster” is lowered by 30 feet and brought in another 30, righties are going to have a tough time sending one over the fence (or otherwise “using it to their advantage”).

I hope this deal works out well for Francoeur and the Mets; I know it’s going to work out for Church and the Braves. Occasional MetsToday contributor John Fitzgerald suggests that “Frenchy” is the next Mike Marshall (the bigfooted first baseman, not the wacko pitcher). It’s an intriguing comparison.



Mets DFA Emil Brown

Before I could get around to announcing Emil Brown’s promotion to the Mets, he’s been designated for assignment.

The move is to make room for Ryan Church, who is 100% and ready to contribute. It is assumed Church will start in right field against Nationals rookie righthander Craig Stammen on Sunday.

Also of note, the demotion of Brown means Fernando Martinez stays around for a while. I’m liking that idea, as F-Mart brings great athleticism and speed to the Mets — two things they need tons of, especially when playing in Citi Field. Martinez will also likely start on Sunday, in left field, as Gary Sheffield was promised a day off.


What the Mets Do Next

Much of the Mets’ chances for success this year relied on the bat of Carlos Delgado, who is out until at least mid-July. But, Gary Sheffield stepped up and filled some of the void in the middle of the lineup — though, it wasn’t enough with Carlos Beltran suffering from a stomach bug and Ryan Church on the DL. Still, with Beltran healthy and Church on the way back, it looked as though the Mets could tread water while they waited for Jose Reyes to return to the lineup, which was reportedly “any day now”.

After an MRI revealed a tear in Reyes’ hamstring, that “day” may be in August. To compound matters, J.J. Putz may need elbow surgery — which could knock him out for the rest of the season.

There’s a real possibility we’ll next see Billy Wagner in a Mets uniform before Delgado, Reyes, or Putz.

What will the Mets do next?


Murphy vs. Martinez


While the Mets are hurting now, parts of the cavalry are making their way back. Carlos Beltran should be feeling better soon, and Ryan Church can come off the DL about a week from now, which means Fernando Martinez will likely be sent back to AAA Buffalo.

Or will he?

Because Carlos Delgado is out until at least July — maybe longer — there has been some chatter regarding the acquisition of a big bopper to take his place in the middle of the lineup. Unless Mike Piazza comes out of retirement, it’s obvious that the import would be a first baseman and/or outfielder.

If indeed the Mets bring in, say, a Matt Holliday or Jermaine Dye, then Dan Murphy has a chance to stay at first base. But, if they acquire a first baseman — Nick Johnson, for example — that puts Murphy back in the outfield, possibly in a platoon situation.

There’s a problem with that second scenario, though, which is that the Mets have decided that Murphy is not an outfielder. The other issue is that the outfield is already crowded, once Ryan Church and Angel Pagan return.

And then there’s Fernando Martinez, who is not being overmatched at the plate.

Whether F-Mart can keep it up is anyone’s guess, but if he does, that changes the situation — it puts the focus on getting a first baseman, displacing Murphy. Add in another factor: Ryan Church is the Mets’ most eligible everyday player to be dealt. He’s only 30, under contractual control for another year, inexpensive, and undervalued by Mets management. The Mets have no “MLB-ready” prospects in their minor-league system, which means they almost certainly would have to provide at least one starting player from the 25-man roster in a blockbuster deal. Church fits the mold — as does Murphy.

If Martinez continues to show he belongs in the bigs, the Mets might consider giving him the right field job and moving Church to obtain a first baseman (Garrett Atkins? Chad Tracy?) — particularly if Murphy continues to struggle at the plate. Though not yet the complete package, Martinez right now has better raw tools than Murphy in the areas of speed and defense, and he might have the edge in power. Hitting under .250, Murphy brings little value to the starting lineup — his defense is a detriment in the outfield, only adequate at first base, he has below-average power for a corner infielder, and is below-average to average as a baserunner. In other words, if Murphy’s not hitting .300+, there isn’t much point in playing him.

Martinez, on the other hand, can at least give you solid defense and baserunning, and he might smack a few extra-base hits. Of course, his batting average needs to improve by at least 75 points — but if it does, it may be enough for him to stick.

The next two weeks could turn out to be a competition of survival between Fernando Martinez and Danny Murphy. Which one will remain standing?


Reyes and Church Out, F-Mart and Some Other Guy In

The Mets acquired shortstop Wilson Valdez to bolster the bench and add punch to the lineup.

The Mets acquired shortstop Wilson Valdez to bolster the bench and add punch to the lineup.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Whoever it was in the Mets front office who was sober enough to realize the insanity of holding five players hostage from the disabled list, we thank you for releasing Jose Reyes and Ryan Church to convalescence. And we thank you for affording Jerry Manuel at least 23, maybe 24, players to work with today.

Reyes and Church go on the 15-day disabled list. For Reyes, it is retroactive to May 21st. No word on the date for Church, but we can presume that it is retroactive to May 23rd.

To take their places on the 25-man roster, the Mets acquired one player and promoted another.

First, the BIG news: the Mets acquired Wilson Valdez from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations. The 31-year-old shortstop was hitting only .198 for AAA Columbus. However, I’m sure that he’s simply in a slump, as his career MLB average is a whopping .216. Wielding that kind of bat, you’re surely asking, “how can we get him in the lineup when Reyes returns?” No worries — Valdez also is a super utlityman, with experience at 2B, 3B, and all three OF positions. We are told he is a slick fielder.

Yes, Alex Cintron remains a free agent, and Chris Woodward is hitting .297 with a .391 OBP through 100 ABs for the Tacoma Rainiers. But the price for those players must have been much higher.

In other news, the Mets have promoted Fernando Martinez from Buffalo. He will be the regular right fielder while Church is on the DL. Somewhere in the western part of the United States, MetsToday loyalist “Micalpalyn” is dancing a jig — and he’s not even Irish.

This is a GREAT time for F-Mart to make his debut, because the team has been winning without Church, Delgado, Reyes, and other regulars. Thus there is no pressure for Martinez to be a savior — he can simply go out there and play his game. I do have one request for Jerry Manuel: please do NOT bat him eighth. He’s already an extremely aggressive and immature hitter, and putting him one batter ahead of the pitcher will exacerbate those negatives. Remember when Lastings Milledge was put in the eight hole?

For the record, I’m very much looking forward to seeing F-Mart in the flesh, in an MLB game.

Finally, the Mets have yet another injury to deal with, as Carlos Beltran is suffering from an inflamed tibia. He has no idea how it happened. Strangely, Kevin Burkhardt reported on SNY that Jose Reyes injured his calf off the field. Is it possible that Reyes and Beltran were injured while dancing to merengue on the team bus?


Mets Link Roundup: Uncle Vin, Antsy Jose, ESPN and Wally F’ing Backman

David Lennon reports that Vin Scully hilariously compared last night’s loss to the 1962 Mets.

The Mets Police has a nicely worded rant against ESPN’s Sunday night baseball. Rather than focus entirely on the Beltran/Phillips debate (remember these guys?), Mets Police basically lays out a case that ESPN is to baseball what ESPN is to sports in general (a disaster).

According to the NY Post, Jose Reyes is getting antsy while Mets management is claiming to be confused by his slow progress… Does anyone else remember Reyes’ history of leg problems? Does anyone else remember how the Mets mishandled Ryan Church’s concussion? Too soon? Too scary?

And finally, a few words from former Mets 2B Wally Backman. This is unedited audio from a locker room speech that Backman gave to his minor league team in 2007, following the team’s first loss of the season. Backman is able to use profanity to rip his team in one sentence and then use it to build his players back up with the next sentence. He’s an artist working in the medium of F-bombs… Enjoy:

(Caution: Explicit Language):