Francoeur traded for living, breathing professional baseball player

I need to forget the Chart of the Day more often.

I was expecting the inevitable Braves release of Jeff Francoeur to be an addition-by-subtraction kind of event where the team just let him go over the offseason and expected to get better, if only because there was nowhere to go but up.  Seriously, Jeff Francoeur has been that bad for the last year and a half.  Whatever power he displayed in ’05-’06 disappeared, and his dreadful lack of plate discipline has never improved.

Some will probably contend that there’s talent to be uncovered in Francoeur’s bat, but he had more than worn out his welcome in my book.  They don’t put OBP on the scoreboard, so it doesn’t matter?  That kind of attitude represents a pretty stark contrast to the kind picture being painted by the Atlanta media, which I guess is understandable for a hometown guy.  Deep down, I think he’s a decent guy who legitimately thinks he’s better off because he doesn’t care what people think about him, but his willful ignorance about what makes a hitter productive ended up costing him his career in Atlanta.

Coming to Atlanta in return is an actual decent baseball player named Ryan Church.  A lefty with moderate power, Church is pretty much the definition of a league-average hitter.  His production isn’t what you’d hope for in a corner outfield spot, and he’s having a down year, but Church is unquestionably a better baseball player than Jeff Francoeur.  That may even be an understatement.

The Braves have also sent the Mets some cash to make up for the difference in the two players’ salaries.  Church will be a free agent after 2010, at which point the Braves are probably hoping for Jason Heyward (newly minted as Baseball America’s #1 MLB prospect) to be an outfield regular.  Kudos to Frank Wren for completing another solid trade.

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5 thoughts on “Francoeur traded for living, breathing professional baseball player

  1. I think the Braves problem is the lack of a real hitting coach. Francoeur and many other Braves’ hitters might be doing better without TP around.

  2. Sometimes I’ve wondered if TP just teaches the approach that made him a successful hitter, rather than an approach specific to each player. His “work” with Andruw Jones was the worst, I thought, and as you said, it’s doubtful that he ever helped Francoeur.

  3. Just because you’re good at doing something yourself, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at teaching it to other people. Baseball is no different from the rest of the world in that respect. Pendleton’s shortcomings as a hitting coach are no different than a brilliant research professor’s inability to effectively teach an introductory freshman course in his field, which is something you see pretty often.

  4. Also, I think you’re onto something with your title. The only way to stop Francoeur from swinging at terrible pitches might be to send him up to the plate when he’s neither living nor breathing.

  5. That’s certainly a morbid picture for Frenchy, although it may be true.

    The research professor analogy certainly works here. It makes me wonder which formerly great hitters (or pitchers) would be good MLB coaches. They’d have to share general tips that made them successful without making changes that would destroy the skills that made their players productive in the first place.

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