Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Archive for the ‘Jeff Francoeur’ Category

Another Season Ended

Posted by JD on September 19, 2010

Luis Hernandez fouled a pitch off his foot yesterday, then proceeded to hit a home run on the very next pitch. Think about that for a second. This is a guy who, prior to September 3rd, had hit just one home run in 233 major league at bats. A guy who managed just 17 home runs in 3,026 at-bats over nine minor league seasons (0.56 home runs per at-bat). The fact that he hit one off of Tim Hudson is amazing in and of itself, but when you throw in a broken foot it becomes absolutely unbelievable. I’m sure adrenaline played a large part in it (adrenaline that, judging from the pictures I linked to above, looks like it wore off immediately after his first step out of the batter’s box) but, at least in this fan’s mind, that home run will go down as one of the most amazing moments in an otherwise lost season (think Dae Sung Koo’s double off of Randy Johnson).

That being said, this season-ending injury is for the best. I hate seeing players injured, even those I don’t care for. Bench them, cut them, waive them: by all means, please remove ineffective players immediately. But the Mets’ failure to make any of those moves with Hernandez, combined with Jerry Manuel’s insistence on playing him, means that this was pretty much the only way that Ruben Tejada was going to earn the lion’s share of playing time at second base. I’m sorry that it came down to that, but at least Tejada will get a better chance to show us all that he can contribute at this level.

The Mets have been out of the race for weeks now: there was no reason to play Hernandez over Tejada*. The fact that a slam dunk roster move was decided by a season-ending injury is ridiculous and insulting. There’s eight games left at Citi Field and I have plans to attend seven of them, but I’m doing so hoping that next season we have a manager that can fill out a line-up call rationally.

*Actually, there’s NEVER a reason to play Hernandez over Tejada.

Posted in Jeff Francoeur, Jerry Manuel, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Star Returns, And A Role Player Departs

Posted by JD on July 15, 2010

Carlos Beltran is back! That’s the main story tonight as the Mets return from the All-Star Break. I’m sure he’ll be rusty and I’m sure he’ll need time to get his game back, but he’s an instant upgrade over Jeff Francoeur and a boost to the offense. It feels like forever since I’ve seen him play (or 10 months at least) and I can’t wait for his first at-bat tonight. It’s a much needed jolt of energy for me (as a fan): I look forward to watching him again.

This being the Mets that we’re talking about, of course there’s negative injury news to balance out my Beltran euphoria. Jose Reyes has again been limited to swinging from the right side only and is riding the pine tonight as the San Francisco Giants start Tim Lincecum tonight. I’ll admit to waffling on this one: half a Reyes is so much better than a whole Alex Cora that I can see why the Mets are reluctant to bench him. I can’t shake the feeling that this will end poorly, but I hearby waive my right to criticize the Mets for this move: I don’t think they’re wrong to keep him active. I’d much rather just continue to slam them for not signing Felipe Lopez instead of Cora in the offseason.

But I digress: the departure I refer to in my post title is that of Fernando Tatis, who was moved to the 60-day DL after he went under the knife on Wednesday. This move almost definitely ends his season, and most likely, his career. I know Tatis has been ridiculed by many Mets fans for the better part of two seasons, but I never quite thought that was fair. Signed to a minor league contract in 2008, Tatis was a revelation that year. He hit 11 home runs and had an 123 OPS+ while backing up in right and left field and first and third base.

He re-signed for $1.7 million in 2009, and while his 13 GIDPs earned him the wrath of many a Mets’ fan, he hit 8 homers and had a 105 OPS+ while adding second base and shortstop to his defensive resume. He wasn’t a whiz with the glove at those positions but he didn’t embarrass himself, either. Add in the fact that he served as the Mets’ emergency catcher and it’s clear that he was worth more than Cora, who had a 69 OPS+ last season while making $2 million dollars. Tatis was actually one of their better players during that lost season, and he took far more criticism than he deserved.

He re-signed again, this time for just $850,000 (or $1 million less than the aforementioned Cora). 2010 was admittedly a down year for Tatis, who found himself in Jerry Manuel’s doghouse, who limited him to a mere 72 plate appearances this season. Still, his 59 OPS+ is higher than Cora’s 58*.

*Can you tell I don’t care that much for Cora as a player?

When all was said and done, he was worth 3.3 WAR (according to Baseball Reference) for the Mets, not a bad return for the roughly $3 million they spent on him. By comparison, Cora has been worth -1.6 WAR. I’ll say it again: Tatis was worth almost five wins more than Cora. Think about that the next time you want to run him down. His career with the Mets may not be over, but if it is, this fan will remember him as a useful bench player acquired for a reasonable price. Tatis may not have helped them reach the playoffs, but he wasn’t the reason why they missed them either. I thank him for his service and wish him nothing but the best in the future.

That said, it’s time to watch the return of Carlos Beltran. The rest of the season starts today, and hopefully Beltran’s return key’s a successful road trip. Let’s Go Mets!

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Jeff Francoeur, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sunday Morning Musings

Posted by JD on June 27, 2010

A few thoughts before I head off to Citi Field for a rubber match with the Twins:

  • American Idle: I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that Carl Pavano threw a complete game three-hit shutout, or that he almost had as many hits as the entire Mets lineup. Pick your poison, because both were fatal to the Mets yesterday.
  • Jeff Francoeur: One of those three hits was a bunt single from our OBP-challenged right fielder. He made an outstanding throw to nail Denard Span at third, but if Angel Pagan doesn’t take his spot in the lineup when Carlos Beltran returns, it will be a crime.
  • Dueling Mustaches: At some point during the game, SNY ran a side-by-side photo of Pavano and Keith Hernandez, comparing their mustaches. I saw it at the stadium so I couldn’t hear the commentary or take a screen-cap, but the awesomeness of it all was not lost in translation.
  • Johan Santana: I think it’s unfair to pin this loss on Santana alone (the lineup generated absolutely nothing), but it’s reasonable to wonder what he has left: he’s really struggled this season. He’s coming off of elbow surgery and dealing with troubling accusations of sexual assault, and he’s not getting any younger. The Mets will be paying him a lot of money over the next three or four years ($78 – $97.5 million, depending on whether his option is picked up), and it’s safe to say that they won’t receive proper value for that money. But what’s done is done, and they’ll have to make the most of it. We would do well to adjust our expectations for him: Santana will be up-and-down throughout the rest of the season, and the end results will be thoroughly mediocre. It’s unfortunate, but that’s where we are.

Posted in Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, Idle Thoughts, Jeff Francoeur, Johan Santana, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Game Recap: Dickey Delivers

Posted by JD on May 25, 2010

R.A. Dickey brought his knuckleball to the mound, and it was the first time the Phillies faced knuckleballers in consecutive games since 1983, when they saw Joe and Phil Niekro. The Mets took advantage and had a (relatively) easy time of it. Here are a couple of notes from today’s game:

  • R.A. Dickey gave the Mets exactly what they needed tonight, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing. He pitched six scoreless innings and struck out seven Phillies, but he allowed seven hits, walked three, and worked out of three bases-loaded jams in the top of the second and third. With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the second, Dickey induced Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz into a 1-2-3 double play (I love the 1-2-3 DP: I think it looks awesome on a scorecard). However, he walked Juan Castro to reload the bases before getting Jamie Moyer to strike out to end the inning. Then, in the top of the third, he loaded the bases again before getting Raul Ibanez to line out to Jose Reyes to end that threat. Dickey even survived getting drilled on his left (non-pitching) elbow by a Ryan Howard liner. He played with fire but he didn’t get burned, and the Mets got a quality start from their new knuckleballer.
  • Jamie Moyer also allowed seven hits and only walked two Mets, but he didn’t fare nearly as well as Dickey. Jose Reyes led off the game by grounding one “past a diving Polanco”, advanced to second on a Castillo bunt, stole third, and scored on a hard groundout to short from Jason Bay. It was a classic “Reyes run” and the Mets never looked back (Reyes also had an RBI triple in the top of the ninth).
  • Even though Bay’s streak of reaching base ended at eight consecutive plate appearances, his hard hit grounder was enough to score Reyes. He’s still locked in at the plate and producing.
  • Speaking of producing, Jeff Francoeur had three consecutive productive plate appearances. He missed some very hittable pitches in his first at bat but reached out and pulled an outside change-up to left to knock in the Mets’ second run in the bottom of the second. In the bottom of the fourth, he hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field to score David Wright. He then lead off the bottom of the sixth with a double and scored the Mets’ fifth run on a pinch-hit single from The Animal, Chris Carter. Frenchy is still a below-average hitter, but hopefully tonight’s performance will get him started again.
  • Raul Valdes relieved Dickey in the top of the seventh. He struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and induced Jayson Werth to ground out to Wright. He walked Castro with two outs in the top of the eighth but quickly retired pinch hitter Ben Francisco, then hit a two out, RBI double over Werth’s head in the top of the ninth. He would stay in to finish off the Phightin’s in the top of the ninth, giving the rest of the bullpen an extra day off.
  • The Mets scored three consecutive two-out runs in the bottom of the eighth off of ex-Met Nelson Figueroa, highlighted by Valdes’ double and Reyes’ triple. It was a great relief to see them add to their lead: it’s been awhile since they’ve had nice easy win.

It was a nice, easy win, but tomorrow is another day. Your starters will be Joe Blanton for the Phillies and Hisanori Takahashi for the Mets. Hopefully the Mets will keep the pedal to the medal and pick up some more ground in the NL East. Let’s go Mets!

Posted in Jeff Francoeur, Jose Reyes, Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Little Drama

Posted by JD on May 17, 2010

It got a little crazy this afternoon, didn’t it? On the heels of Omar Minaya’s announcement that he would accompany the team to Atlanta, Jeff Wilpon changed his plans and flew down, too. I read Metsblog at least 10 times a day and I happened to check in as this post was published…and that was effectively the end of my workday. The various beat writers were tweeting minute-by-minute status updates, so I pulled out my Blackberry, fired up the Ubertwitter app, and hit refresh approximately every two minutes.

Given how poorly the Mets have played recently, I initially thought we were witnessing the end of Jerry Manuel’s managing tenure. Wilpon, Manuel, Minaya and Assistant GM John Ricco were locked in discussions behind closed doors and I was sure that Jerry would soon be an ex-manager. The doors opened, Jerry walked through, the question was asked, and…Jerry laughed it off and quickly returned to the room with Dan Warthen, Randy Niemann, and Ray Ramirez in tow. Ok, I thought, we’re going to have a new pitching coach.

Not so fast. Warthen, Niemann, and Ramirez left the room a few minutes later, still gainfully employed. Well, that could only mean one thing: upper management was discussing whether they could afford to cut Oliver Perez. But as the minutes crawled by, it slowly dawned on me that they were just getting an update on Jon Niese’s status. Sure enough, word soon came from the beat writers that there was a locker with R.A. Dickey’s name on it, and that Hisanori Takahashi would be taking Niese’s next turn in the rotation.

Wednesday’s starter is still up in the air, but that’s about the only unresolved issue. Jeff Wilpon spoke to the beat writers shortly after the 90-minute ordeal ended, saying “I came to talk baseball… If I felt good about what is going on, I wouldn’t be here.” And that was that. Manuel, Warthen, and Perez kept their jobs, and the Mets got ready to face the Braves.

Oh, that’s right: they also played a game, which the Mets won 3-2. Chris Carter started in right field and had a double and an RBI before being lifted for Jeff Francoeur in a defensive switch…in the 6th inning. GMJ started and did GMJ things again (0-3 with a strike out and a big GIDP with the Mets threatening in the seventh), and Francisco Rodriguez made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth before striking out Nate McClouth to end the game.

Plenty to write about there, but I have no energy for it: getting my hopes up earlier in the afternoon left me spent. The win postponed the Manuel-watch for at least another series or two (I doubt they’ll make a move until after the Yankees series now). But rest assured, we’ll surely be treated to more management-driven drama before long.

Posted in Jeff Francoeur, Jerry Manuel, Mets, Oliver Perez, Omar Minaya, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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