Don't let the headline deceive you -- the Francoeur-to-Texas deal is an indisputably good move. The fact that the trade even occurred, however, makes no sense. If the Mets acknowledge, through their actions, that Jeff Francoeur is only worth token-AAA infielder, Joaquin Arias (or less, considering the cash going Texas' way), how can they possibly make him their starting rightfielder for nearly two years?! I'm being serious, not glib. Regardless of my generally low opinion of the Mets Front Office, I at least expect them to adhere to some basic tenets of human logic.
There's no possible explanation for this incongruence:
- They thought he was good -- Obviously the Mets, at one point, thought Jeff Francoeur would be a good rightfielder. This season, however, has been an abject disaster. And ever since Omar Minaya indicated at the July-31st trade deadline that Francoeur would be a waiver-trade candidate, the Mets seemed to have at least partially realized Frenchy's incompetence.
- They gave up a long time ago -- In this scenario, the Mets fell out of contention early and just dragged Francoeur around because it didn't matter either way. The Mets, however, were a close second-place to the Braves in the NL East as late as July 16th. They were 1.5 games out of the wild card. From May 1st to July 16th Francoeur had hit .270/.316/.372.
- Lack of better options -- This possibility assumes Francoeur creates any kind of standard against which to measure other players. Since his impressive April, Francoeur has a .605 OPS. Rey Ordonez had 3 seasons as a Met in which he hit better than that. Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Chris Carter, Jason Pridie, Val Pascucci, and a few choice corpses were all viable replacements at any point this season. Francoeur even started over Pagan sometimes in July, the month he had a .393 OPS.
- Waiting for the big bounce back -- Given Francoeur's truly awful track record with Atlanta, waiting all season for Francoeur to replicate his incredible April would be stupid beyond forgiveness. It's also the most likely scenario here, coupled with the Mets inherent over-valuation of Francoeur.
I tried to write the timeline down on pen and paper, but it made no more sense (click to embiggen):
This trade only confirms the Mets transformation from bad front office to bad and totally inert front office. Ever since Jeff Wilpon muddled the Mets' organizational hierarchy a year ago, they have gone from heading straight down the tubes to heading nowhere, which may actually be worse.