Today was a great day for the team I spend the most time watching in any sport, the Atlanta Braves.
They FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY! Got rid of Jeff Francoeur aka failcore aka the human out machine.
It's hard to put into words the agony and frustration it has been watching him day in and day out the last couple of years. He has been one of the worst major leaguers for a while now, yet there he was on your favorite team constantly-consistently stinking it up. Costing runs. Costing wins.
When he was finally sent down last season it was only for 4 days and it did no good whatsoever. Only trash our hopes of a lenghty stay.
Now he is actually gone in what is clear is an absolute robbery of a trade.
I and most sane braves fans would have been delighted with almost anything for him and that the Mets actually in return gives up an upgrade, a decent serviceable major league ballplayer in return, Ryan Church, it is something almost too good to be true.
Reading my favorite Braves blog today following the trade was awesome.
Mac Thomason who runs it has been relentless anti-Francouer to a point where he has been rivaling Cato the Elder in his stubborn efforts against Carthago, and the reaction from everyone following this news was of course nothing short of ecstatic.
The cause of so much frustration finally gone. Oh happy day indeed!
I will admit however that at times I have been feeling sorry for Frenchy...
He took everyone by storm in his rookie year even getting on the cover of SI:
(almost painful to look at now btw)
and with his fellow "Baby Braves" of that year, 2005, mainly best friend the awesome Brian McCann, helped Atlanta to their 14th straight division title.
The future sure looked bright...
I don't consider myself enough of a baseball expert to say what exactly went wrong.
I do remember up until even the start of last season being hopeful that he could improve.
Baseball Prospectus 2008 in their writeup were even quite positive.
Saying he was more disciplined, now seeing a few more pitches while holding his strikeout rate steady.
The final words were: "Just 24 years old he may well become a star in 2008". Wow!
What followed was of course a nightmare year. No patience. No plate discipline. Super slow batspeed. No understanding of the strike zone, swinging at everything and even though he had put on muscle, not much power.
Resulting in horrible numbers across the board making him one of the worst starting outfielders in the league!
And this year?
They're even worse!
But yeah there is a tragic element when a hometown hero falls from grace like this and is just not able to live up to expectations, but I think most would agree that his attitude just hasn't been all that great. In a recent interview he said that if OBP was that important why don't they show it on the scoreboard...
It's just hard continuing feeling bad for someone capable of such stupidity or utter denial if you will.
A few years ago he was even offered the same extension that McCann got but rejected it.
Had he signed that he would have almost been impossible to move today, so thank god for his poor decision making in that situation!
I don't normally blog on baseball and probably won't very much at all in the near future since I don't feel I have a whole lot to offer and is still learning in many ways but this was such a great day for me personally as a Braves fan, that it just had to be done.
Man of the day is definitely general manager Frank Wren who taking over from legendary John Schuerholz has had very big shoes to fill.
I didn't like how he handled the Smoltz situation.
Watching Smoltz pitch without really understanding much of the game coming home late at night at weekends, sometimes drunk with nothing to do, was what helped make me a Braves fan in the first place, and to like the sport itself for that matter, which then weirdly enough stayed with me, for many years, until the arrival of MLBTV where I could finally watch consistently. Eh it's a long boring self centered story but to cut it short I loved John Smoltz and he should have finished his career in Atlanta!
But to get back on track. Wren in his position doesn't have room for sentimentality and as far as I can see overall has done a great job. Putting together a much better pitching staff and first with Nate McLouth and now with this miraculous deal, upgrading the outfield.
I still somehow haven't written one single word about Le Tour yet, but I am watching so hopefully that's about to change very soon!