From the AP:
The slumping New York Mets have traded outfielder Ryan Church to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Jeff Francoeur.
The deal came Friday, with the injury-ravaged Mets trying to avoid falling farther back in the NL East race.
Church is hitting .280 with two home runs and 22 RBIs. Francoeur is hitting .250 with five homers and 35 RBIs.
Now, if the Mets made the trade to score some free Delta miles, great. If they made the trade to improve their right field situation, they may be in for a bit of a surprise.
Seriously, Frenchy is hitting .250/.282/.352 this season. That’s no better than he did last season when he hit .239/.294/.359. At the bat, he’s an out machine with a little bit of pop. And however bad Ryan Church has performed this season, his line is better across the board this season, and Francoeur has only once topped Church in either on-base average or slugging percentage–that being when he slugged .549 as a rookie in 2005, a mark he has since failed to come within 100 points of.
Defensively, I fail to see much of an improvement, either. His arm is spectacular, but he’s never provided much in the way of range. UZR saw him as well below average last year, and no more than average this year, pulled up by his arm rating in both seasons.
I suppose Francoeur does have more upside than Church, thanks to being five years younger and possessing more athleticism. But at this point, 2600-plus plate appearances into his career, I just don’t see him ever meeting that ceiling, or coming very close. It’s certainly possible that he does, but it just isn’t likely.
This one’s worse than a head-scratcher for me; frankly, I’m angry.