July 26, 2009

Adam Krohn: Baseball not for Francoeur

The Atlanta Braves’ Frank Wren is one of the major league’s more creative general managers. Always thinking outside-the-box for ways to improve his team, he kept coming back to the same question in his head: “How can I put Jeff Francoeur in the best position to help us win?”

Francoeur, the 25-year-old homegrown talent from Gwinnett County’s Parkview High, had been in steady decline the past two seasons with the Braves. He turned in his worst performance as a big leaguer last season, batting .239 with just 11 home runs in 155 games. 2009 wasn’t any better for him despite showing promise in spring training. Through 82 games with Atlanta, his on-base percentage, .282, was worst among everyday outfielders in all of baseball.

Wren was stumped for the answer to his question until finally, one day earlier this month, he started to chuckle. He had figured out the answer: Trade him within the division so the Braves can face a sub-.250 hitter 20 games a year. Just like that, Francoeur was off to the Mets.

Now, it is possible Francoeur could respond like a true competitor and make the Braves pay for trading him. In 11 games with the Mets, he’s hitting .333 with two home runs. But so what if he’s off to a hot start with a new team? Is it time to put him on the cover of Sports Illustrated again?

My point is his average will level out eventually, and the Mets will be stuck with the same undisciplined, incompetent hitter the Braves got rid of. So much in the way Wren was creative in making Francoeur better for the Braves by trading him, Francoeur must get creative in making himself a better professional athlete by trading sports.

Francoeur should quit baseball right now. He’s still got four years of college eligibility remaining, so why not take up Clemson on its scholarship offer and start a career in football? 

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