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were_free | July | 2009 Articles

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UPDATE: It should be noted that our own Kristi Dosh is clairvoyant. Her Francoeur prediction is reason enough to keep reading her blogs, for which she can now offer better predictions than Nostradomus.

REUPDATE: We win on the same night of such a wonderful event? Giggity.

Recently, upon Michael Jackson's death, people I know have asked me where I was when it happened, as if I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. I mean no disrespect to Michael or the gravity surrounding his death, but, for me, today will be remembered with much more voracity. Today will stay with me in infamy as the day the Braves finally said adieu to Francoeur and shipped him off to the Mets. As if seeing him leave Atlanta was not joyous enough, we get to watch Frenchy go to our division rival, where we will get to see him fail everyday, while getting something more valuable back. It's a christmas July 10th miracle[1]!

I understand that he was a popular player. I got that the minute that he hit that 3-run homer and had entrenched himself as a staple of Atlanta baseball. I have nothing against Francoeur. In fact, I always had a bittersweet attitude towards him. It is not like I didn't buy into the Natural hype. It was hard not to. I wanted it to happen so bad, but there was always some uneasiness. I remember that summer, when he had been up for a month, I decided to glance at his minor league numbers. I remember justifying their blandness with the small sample we had seen. Whenever found myself questioning it, I would put my complete trust in what scouts, coaches and the like all said about his potential, eating up stories about how the sound his bat makes is just different from anyone else. Of course, these are the same things, along with Jeff's subsequent downward spiral, that drove me to become the analytical person I am today.

I won't go into too much detail evaluating each player; Tom does it plenty of justice.  Frankly, the shock hasn't left me yet. I will say this, though: Ryan Church is a good fit in our outfield. Disregarding that we got him for Jeff Failcoeur, he is an decent outfielder in his own right. It is clear he has some injuries that plague him, but Matt Diaz, who should've been playing in right all along, can fill in nicely when his injuries inevitably reappear. When Church is healthy and playing, we'll have a guy who in his first full season batted a respectable .272/.349/.464 while doing it all with plus defense in the outfield. His UZR that year (2007) was 4.4, which was split over left and center. Of course, his past two years have been disappointments with OPS+ of 106 and 88, respectively. I don't fault him too much for that. It could've just been because he was a Met. That has got to bring your batting average down by at least 25 points.

Still, beggers can't be choosers and we really came away with a steal in this one. We didn't have to take on a big contract. We didn't have to take on someone worse[2]. We got to send him away before he starts earning even more through his ridiculous arbitration hearings[3]. Most importantly, we get to seem him fail on another team. Mark down July 10th for next year. We'll need to be sure to sacrifice plenty of livestock that day to keep the gods happy.

[1] I searched and searched for something amazingly significant that happened on today's date.  Anything that could have had at least some resemblance to today's happenings would have been adequate, but I couldn't find a thing.

[2] The only player that comes to mind is Tony Pena Jr., who seems to defy the word terrible.

[3] Here is a "transcript" of last year's hearing.


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