For weeks, rumours of a trade involving Jeff Francoeur have been circulating the Atlanta Braves. Friday afternoon, these rumours became reality as the Braves offloaded Francoeur to the New York Mets in exchange for outfielder, Ryan Church.
Though the move may not come as a shock to many people, the timing is somewhat surprising, just three days before the All-Star break. The Braves have been looking for more consistent hitting at the back-end of the line-up and have become increasingly frustrated with Francoeur's struggles at the plate. In 82 games this year, Francoeur has hit .250 with just five home runs - the combination of the two proving too much for the Braves to take.
On the other hand, Ryan Church offers the Braves a more consistent bat, if not a powerful one. In 67 games with the Mets in 2009, Church has hit .280 with 2 home runs and 22 RBIs.
This is a trade that works for both clubs. Church can offer the Braves the consistent hitting that Francoeur could not, whilst Francoeur brings a gold glove calibre arm to Citi Field and the hope that a change of scenery can help him produce number similar to those he put up when he first came up from the minors back in 2005 when he hit .300 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs for the Braves in 70 games.
Francoeur will replace Carlos Beltran in the Mets outfield, with the All-Star still sidelined on the 15-day Disabled List.
Though some fans will be glad to see the back of Francoeur, others will be bitterly disappointed to see him leave. "Frenchie" was a popular player, despite his struggles, and his cannon of an arm in right field will be sorely missed.
11th July 2009