Francoeur excited about fresh start
It was neither the time (3:45 p.m. MT, just before he was to start getting ready for a game against the Rockies) nor the place (the visiting manager's office at Coors Field) that he might have expected it, but
In truth, the trade itself was not news to Francoeur, who was well aware that his name has been dangled in trade rumors for some time (at one point the Red Sox were considered a potential landing point). Even coming to the Mets, who acquired him for outfielder
"I'm excited," he said. "I'm sad to leave Atlanta but excited to come to New York. It's the most exciting stage in baseball. The Mets take a lot of pride in winning and they've had some great teams the last couple years. I'll be playing on a big stage up there."
Before he had a chance to go to the airport, he had already received a phone call from ex-Mets and Braves pitcher
Asked his thoughts on living in New York, Francoeur laughed and said, "I might have to find some spaces with green grass for my dogs," but then added, "I'm looking forward to playing in that big outfield and throwing some guys out."
Despite his impressive throwing arm, it wasn't his defense that made the Mets target Francoeur. The Mets are desperate for any kind of offensive spark, having scored just 10 runs in their past six games. And while they rank second in the NL in batting average and on-base percentage, they are 10th in runs scored and dead last in home runs. At his best, Francoeur is capable of hitting for both power and average -- he batted .300 with 45 RBIs after a midseason call-up in 2005 that made him one of the year's most hyped players and he drove in 100 runs in each of the next two seasons. But he suffered a sharp decline in 2008, as his average dropped to .239 with just 11 home runs and 71 RBIs. In January,
He spent the winter adjusting his approach at the plate and vowed to stop discussing his struggles from a year ago, but he was batting a meager .250 with a .282 on-base percentage this season while striking out 46 times against just 11 walks. "I feel like I've been swinging the bat better," Francoeur said on Friday, and in fact, he had three doubles in his last game with the Braves on Thursday.
The Mets are looking for any kind of offensive boost since the injuries to
In a phone call with Minaya and Mets manager
One adjustment he won't have to make is to the increased pressure of playing in New York. "I'm such a high intensity guy anyway, and that's such a passionate fan-base," he said. "I can't wait."