Well, I don’t have to worry about spelling Jeff Francoeur’s name anymore — he’s headed to Texas. The Mets have dealt the slick-fielding right fielder who never swung at a pitch he didn’t like to the Rangers for some guy named Joaquin Arias.
Arias is a utility infielder whose claim to fame is that he was the player-to-be-named-later sent to the Rangers along with Alfonso Soriano in the deal that landed the Yankees Alex Rodriguez.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Arias to do anything special — the Rangers designated him for assignment last week, so it’s not like he was a major part of that team. Just like Francoeur, he doesn’t walk and strikes out a lot — two walks and 17 strikeouts in limited duty this year, translating into a robust .290 on-base percentage. Francoeur’s is a similar .293.
While Francoeur’s bat will not be missed, the Mets defense will suffer. He had a way of picking up a ball and firing it back to the infield in one motion — I had never seen anybody do that before.
It’s kind of a shame that it didn’t work out with Francoeur. He seemed like a good guy — always with a smile on his face, or maybe that’s just because he has some extra teeth. The fans seemed to be pulling for him, but he just couldn’t seem to find the necessary discipline at the plate. He also was apparently a good presence in the clubhouse, although that didn’t translate into wins on the field.
Francoeur told reporters, “It’s exciting, because I get the opportunity to go a team well on the way to the playoffs… It’s kind of bittersweet. Going in to this year, I didn’t envision the year going the way it did, for me personally or for the team. But, at the same time, I feel I came out to play hard every day. Sometimes, yeah, I wasn’t the best, and you got frustrated. But, you know, this is going to be a good opportunity to go play against some lefties and go to the playoffs.”
So the purge has begun.