“I had a great three months of the season, and it fell off for me and the team.”
Jeff Francoeur, talking to the Star-Telegram about how things went for him in New York this year.
I’m assuming you get your press credentials revoked if you immediately respond to comments like that by saying “But Jeff, your first half OPS was .695? You hit .211/.262/.274 in May! What part of that was ‘great?'”
Not that Francoeur is the only one confused about the quality of his tenure in Queens. This morning Newsday’s David Lennon tweeted the following:
Bottom line: Francoeur helped change clubhouse climate for his brief period here. Mets needed it, thanked him by trade to contender.
Probably worth noting that a Mets player knocked his girlfriend’s dad the hell out in that clubhouse a couple of weeks ago, so Francoeur’s calming presence only goes so far. Probably also worth noting that Francoeur very publicly demanded more playing time recently, which is usually the kind of thing that gets labeled clubhouse cancers, not standup guys like Lennon portrays Frenchy. Of course, the rules have always been a bit different for him than other guys.
That aside, if Francoeuer truly was great in the clubhouse we now know unequivocally that being great in the clubhouse is utterly useless from a baseball perspective, because the Mets have gone in the toilet over the past couple of months, and no amount of charm and positive attitude from Francoeur was able to change it.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.