Mets answered Braves prayers with Church

When I get to the ballpark today, I’m going to have to do a lot of explaining to Chipper Jones.  
Somewhere over the course of the past couple weeks or even within the past 24 hours, I’m pretty sure that I bet his ranch on the belief that the Braves wouldn’t be able to trade Jeff Francoeur for anything more than a mid-level prospect.
 
Given what I’d gathered from the Braves over the previous few weeks, they shared this same thought up until Wednesday, when Mets general manager Omar Minaya provided an offer that immediately made him a candidate for a playoff share if the Braves turn things around and compete in this year’s postseason.
  
Seriously when I first heard that the Braves had acquired Ryan Church in exchange for Francoeur, I think I squinted like Arnold Drummond used to do before uttering, “What you talking about Willis?”

I had essentially resigned myself to the belief that December would arrive and the Braves would gain nothing in return when they non-tendered Francoeur.  

But now instead of going through this season’s second half waiting for a man once recognized as “Their Future” to regain the promise he’d shown in The Past, they’ve actually traded him for somebody who will strengthen their right field position. 

Like most every other Major League outfielder, Church doesn’t possess Francoeur’s arm.  But now that we have that out of the way, it’s pretty hard to find any other aspect of the game where Francoeur proves to be superior to Church.  

What concerns me the most about Church is the fact that he’s hit just .264 with five homers and  a .686 OPS in the 115 games that he’s played since being concussed by Yunel Escobar’s knee last year.  

But those numbers look pretty similar to the ones produced by Francoeur,  who has hit .259 with six homers and a .661 OPS over the course of his past 115 games.

Just two days ago, we were baffled by Bobby Cox’s decision to once again start Francoeur instead of Matt Diaz.   Now with the left-handed Church, the Braves have the perfect platoon compliment for Diaz in right field.
 
Dating back to the beginning of the 2007 season, Church has hit .291 with 25 homers and an .831 OPS against right-handed pitchers.   In 272 at-bats against left-handers during this span, he has hit .232 with five homers and a .640 OPS. 

With Diaz hitting .365 and a .935 OPS against left-handed pitchers this year, the Braves don’t have to worry about the fact that Church struggles against southpaws.
 
While Church’s numbers against lefties might be alarming, they don’t look much different than the ones compiled on an everyday basis this year by Francoeur, who in his past 272 at-bats has hit .246 with four homers and a .614 OPS.  
The Mets didn’t do Church any favors by quickly rushing him back to the lineup on two separate occasions after he suffered the concussion last year and they didn’t provide any of their hitters an advantage with the dimensions that are present at Citi Field. 
 
During the 32 games he’s played at Citi Field this year, Church has hit .216 with a .576 OPS.  In 35 road games, he has hit .326 with an .804 OPS.

Throw in the fact that Mets manager Jerry Manuel didn’t seem to like him and it was obvious that it was in Church’s best interests to escape New York. 
 
And there was no doubt that it was time for Francoeur to realize a change of scenery.   While he’s  still the same likeable kid that we’ve known since he debuted in 2005, the  past two years have proven that he’s not the quality player some might have envisioned when he hit .276 with 53 homers and a .777 OPS through the first 321`games of his career.

In the 310 games that have followed, he has hit .256, with 25 homers and a .685 OPS.

With the pressures of living up to the expectations of being the hometown hero that he was during his high school days, Francoeur constantly tried to change his approach and in the process, he seemingly lost his identity.
 
Whether Francoeur is able to turn things around in New York remains to be seen.  But there’s no doubt the Braves made themselves better yesterday when they were miraculously found somebody willing to provide the piece that significantly upgrades their right field position.   
 

57 Comments

To me, I’ve always like Bmac better. I always thought, the next era would be Bmac/French era, and both of them be the face of the braves after Chip retired. I do hope Frechy gets it going at NY and don’t get killed by the Media. I hope Ryan becomes great here in the ATL. In other news I see the next era as Hanson/Bmac era. Good luck to Frenchy and Good luck to Church here.

And only yesterday we were talking about how “smart” that Mets GM is….

This is just another reason why Frank Wren should be fired.

Francouer’s worst year (2008) resembles that of Ryan Church’s BEST year (2007). and he doesn’t posses the defensive ability or arm of Francouer. Ryan Church is not half the player Jeff Francouer is. Never will be. Matt Diaz, given daily playing time, could put up better number than Ryan Church.

I have the feeling Wren will just be using Church in another trade here shortly.

Oh, and by the way. Garret Anderson needs to be released.

I could put up better numbers than Garret Anderson for $2.5 Million. Jim Edmonds would have been better offensively and defensively for sure.

Great article from mark here.

And garret shouldnt be released. If he is too bad in the field he should be used like greg norton last year. Occasional outfielder and premium pinch hitter. This might be how i used him right now. Diaz everyday in LF, Church everyday in RF, with GA as pinch hitter and to start the occasional game in the outfield.

I hope bobby finds a happy medium with the 3 corner OF, and they all get to play about 2/3 of the time. I am excited about our outfield mix now

plus, it doesnt matter who you like better. McCann and Francouer are 2 different players at 2 completley different positions.

Nice work by Wren.

An upgrade any way you slice it.

Rother looks like our old buddy saltlake has reappeared under an assumed name. Though no matter the name he takes we all know it’s him when the waxing rhapsodic about Jim Edmonds begins.

Worth a laugh though.

thebdanabstract, I’m guessing you didn’t really look into it before you posted, because if you did you’d notice this:
Francoeur (2008)- .239, .294, .359 (.653 OPS) (11HR)
Church (2007)- .272, .349, .464 (.813 OPS) (15 HR)

Also, this year Francoeur was on pace to have worse offensive numbers than last year in terms of OPS. Comparing Francoeur and Church defensively, their UZR’s show little difference and Church might actually be a little better. The only thing Francoeur possesses that Church doesn’t is his strong arm. Church gives us an upgrade, albeit not a huge one, in just about every other area.

If you’re going to critique the GM, that’s fine by me, but at least do your homework.

thebdanabstract, No offence… but your post is one of the dumbest I’ve read. Even than the Juan Pierre crap. Next time, read the WHOLE BLOG before you decide to say something stupid like that. IF you release GA you still have to pay off his contract. Yeah Bmac and Frechy are 2 different player at different positions but Frenchy should of put up better numbers than Bmac cause his a RF. And yeah, Ryan will be more than Half the player of Frenchy cause he used to be called a 30 homerun guy like Frechy. He was just injured to much. So next time, do what bobbycoxismyfather tells you to do, do your homework.

Zidane, I agree that Diaz deserves a shot at more than a platoon.

Mike Gonzalez was sent back to Atlanta because his elbow flared up after Thursday’s game. Because he’s been used on three consecutive days twice this month, the Braves didn’t intend to use him for the rest of this series….I’m going to check to see if he was checked by a doctor in Atlanta yet.

O dear, this probably wont be good

Frenchy is in Mets lineup tonight.

That’s not good news, Mark. But, sadly, not completely unexpected.

Anyone else really satisfied with how Acosta pitched last night. I think we’ll see more of him, especially if Gonzalez is out for any length of time.

Gonzo met today with Dr. Duralde, who diagnosed the reliever with tendinitis. Frank Wren said that Gonzo should available to pitch on Thursday.

I think acosta will grow into a more important bullpen roll given the opportunity. Hopefully a 12-0 atlanta lead after 6 today. havent had one of those in ages!

Good. We rly need gonzo. soriano has just been outstanding we couldn’t have asked for anything more from him. When he paints the outside black low and away from a righthanded hitter its just dirty.
But we do need some guys to step up to give raffy gonzo and moylan breaks every now and then. i think each of them is well on their way to 80 appearances this yr. we cant afford to have their arms tailing off late in the year!!!

I think the trade has good upsides for both teams. A lot of times you see a guy get in a new environment he starts playing better. I hope that’s the case for Francoeur, I HATE the Mets, but I wish him well. The fact that the Braves got anything above minor league talent means it’s a good trade for the Braves. I hope both guys do well, and I hope that Braves fans don’t boo Francoeur when he comes back to Atlanta.

I feel the exact same way jake!!!

Frenchy singled in 2 in the first AB, good for him.

yea 2 RBI single to right and nice running catch in the top half of the inninb. WAY TO GO FRENCHY!!!!

Johnny Cueto seems to be good for what ails you of late. That’ll buy Francoeur at least a game up in New York before they start circling again.

not to mention but they were showing many fans with francouer jerseys on……sometimes you dont realize what you have until its gone!!! i hope thats not the case here.

Another fun fact from early N.L. East action….Ryan Howard stole his 4th base of the season, which would tie him for 3rd was he on the Braves.

Not to seem all grumpy or anything but,, Oh NOW HE PRODUCES… that’s all.

bravesfan0224 – C’mon man. You’re going to compare the Juan Pierre conversation to that? That’s cold. Below the belt. That hurts man… really hurts. For the record – it wasn’t a stupid suggestion. His contract was the only downside, but he’d still greatly contribute with his speed and batting average. I’d like to think I have a pretty good baseball IQ and I’m a die hard Braves… why do I feel so insulted? LOL.

Actually….it’d tie him for 2nd….wasn’t looking at the right end of McLouth’s splits….

I have the MLB package and the Mets game on. Frenchy got a warm welcome from the fans, came up with the bases loaded and 1 out, and I’m thinking “man, please don’t hit into a double play. They’ll eat you alive!” He drove in two runs. Good for him! (although he actually got jammed and fisted a blooper over the first baseman’s head, it’s a line drive in the score book and hopefully will take some pressure off.)
Now c’mon Reds, beat the Mets!!!

No, the Jim Edmonds suggestions are in a whole different league. Pierre would get picked up in a heartbeat if he was standing on the street corner with a tin cup and cardboard sign saying “Will play CF for food” like Edmonds.
30 teams told him that the only phrase he needs to learn is “would you like fries with that?”

The juan pierre conversation is now the barometer used to measure the stupidity of all other comments against :P

Bravomania i was kidding, but yeah, I didn’t like the Pierre thing. But that other person thing was WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY past I mean other Galaxy past dumb on that.(yes Juan’s contract was just tooooo stupid for us to even think of tradeing for him.)

Another RISP for Frenchy. Let’s see what happens…

Strikeout… high fastball. Looked very familiar.

Let the NY media go crazy. This is the barometer, Trade for Juan Pierre(1)-Ryan Church Will Never Be Half Of Frechy(10).

I think the Jim Edmonds comment should be at 10… just sayin’…

Moving to the Braves game… I have a feeling Jurrjens will not get any run support tonight against Marquis. I hope I’m wrong.

Gotta love brooks. He brings the hustle, and doesnt listen to stupid stop signs!!!

Good thing there are a couple G-Braves on the team to get the runs in.

That’s one way to provide yourself with some run support.

lol- Jurrjens said I’ll just do it myself.

Coors Field, where everything in the gaps is a triple, unless your sorry veteran players jog all the time, like our Braves. Chipper not scoring was a result of his consistent lack of hustle on the bases. Sad that all he has left is that great swing.

So Diory was all bat and no glove in the Minors and since getting the Majors he’s providing most of his contributions on defense…he’s certainly not playing like the guy who seemed like a defensive liability when I saw him during Spring Training.

So I compliment Diory and then moments later he tries to bunt for a base hit with two outs and the pitcher on deck…I guess with hits in his previous two at-bats, he figured that was the only way he was going to get on base again.

I lolz at Francouer’s 2 RBI when Church can’t even hit a fly ball to drive in 1.

i don’t think Church is a BAD player, I just don’t see why you would trade an apple for an apple. Considering your apple is one you grew yourself from the tree in your backyard.

But i stand by my statement that I think Church will be traded along with maybe Blanco or Johnson(as much as I like him) and MAYBE Vazquez. Frank Wren does stupid stuff.

To Diory’s credit, they know his hitting will come around. Now he has flashed enough leather to stick, maybe for the rest of the season.

Can someone tell me why Kotchman is out of the lineup?

^just realized that!

no clue.

i was hoping that church would have hit a slam…

Is Kotchman still sick?

BRING IN SOMEONE ELSE NOW BEFORE MOYLAN KILLS OUR LEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why does Cox use the bullpen so much!!!! Give JJ a chance to work out of it!!! MOylan just got surgery and he’s used almost every night!

The Braves are once again trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Man. Our pitching is solid. I had the Rockies broadcast tonight. They said that Moylan leads the league in innings/ appearances. After coming off Tommy John? That’s not very bright is it?

Broxton (toe) likely won’t pitch in the ASG…Bobby said after the game that he’s played phone tag with Charlie Manuel today and he’s holding out hope that Soriano will be the replacement…If Manuel watched Soriano complete tonight’s ninth, it would seem like he has an easy decision.

Great win, nothing better than seeing soriano blow his fastball past allcomers. Right now, tomorrow is a HUGE HUGE game. get back to .500 please!

Dave Doyle of metsreport.com did a Q&A for me about Church. Some of you might be interested:

Q: Church gets a bad rap defensively. Yet the statistics (UZR and +/-) suggest he?s a slightly above-average defender. Tell us about his glove work from a fans? perspective.

A: He?s not Roberto Clemente but Church is definitely an above average right fielder. He even filled in for Carlos Beltran in center field very capably on occasion this season. His arm is very good, not as good as Francoeur though. And he has surprising range for his body type plus good instincts on the ball. An above average fielder is a perfect description of him.

Q: We frequently hear things along the lines of ?Ryan Church was in Manuel?s doghouse?. Two questions, 1) was he actually in Manuel?s doghouse and 2) what did he do to get there?

A: Church was definitely not one of Jerry Manuel?s guys. Manuel said in spring training that Daniel Murphy is a better hitter than Church (which is questionable at best). And Manuel wouldn?t even refer to Church by name when he missed third base in Los Angeles that cost the Mets a game on May 18th. Manuel referred to him as ?the guy? that missed third. Those are a couple of examples among countless others that gave an indication that Manuel had a problem with Church. Both Manuel and Church denied there was a problem publicly, but there clearly was a problem. I?m not sure what caused the problem initially. My suspicion is that Manuel always expected more from Church than we got on the field and/or that it was just a bad personality mix.

Q: On the surface the Francoeur-Church swap seems like a ?change of scenery? trade. I know Francoeur will benefit from being away from the Braves, do you think Church will benefit from playing in Atlanta (or being away from the Mets)?

A: That?s a good question. It was widely reported here in New York during the off-season that Ryan Church didn?t like playing in New York and wanted out. This was reported by Mike Francesa on WFAN radio. Francesa said he got that from a reliable source in the Mets organization. Church denied the story. But I think that there was something to it myself. So I do think that going to the Braves will be a positive move for Church. I don?t think the Mets, as an organization, came to think of Church as part of the solution to their problems.

Q: What was your reaction when the Mets dealt Milledge for Church and Schnider within the division and what was your reaction to the Mets dealing Church for Francouer, also within the division?

A: I wasn?t surprised that Milledge was traded. He had major problems with some of the veterans on the Mets, notably Billy Wagner. But I think it was a unanimous fan reaction that the Mets should?ve gotten more than Church and Schneider for him. I have to admit that I was surprised that the Mets would make a deal with the Braves. But my reaction is that it seems like a pretty even deal. I?ve heard from Mets fans that they hate this deal. But neither Church nor Francoeur is likely to have a major impact on the division race overall.

Q: Are Atlanta baseball fans going to like Church?

A: Another good question. Church doesn?t say much. But when he speaks, he?s always said all of the right things while he?s been in New York. His comments to the media have always shown class and maturity. He?s not going to come into town and rock the boat with inflammatory comments or actions. He never dogs it in the field or on the bases. The only thing that?s frustrating to watch is that he doesn?t hit lefties well. If he?s platooning, that won?t be an issue.

Left Coors Field after filing last night’s gamer and I’m currently in the Atlanta airport waiting for my connection to St. Louis to watch Heyward and Canizares play in this afternoon’s Futures Game…When tomorrow arrives, I’m hoping that my All-Star duties include talking to Soriano about his first selection. The dude deserves it and it appears that while I was in the air, Broxton was definitely scratched from his ASG duties.

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