Francoeur worthy of a long-term deal?

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If Marty Noble’s awkward “Open letter to Citi Field” wasn’t enough to convince you that he needs this season to end as much as the rest of us, this might:



The Mets believe Francoeur will look sharp in their 2010 uni, so much
so that they are inclined to approach him about signing him to a
three-year contract that would allow him to become a big league Beau
Brummel, if he so chose. They like what they have seen of him in and
out of uniform — from his spirited demeanor to his nuclear arm to the
two doubles he produced Saturday afternoon in their victory against the
Nationals.




And what’s not to like from the Mets’ perspective? Francoeur now has
driven in 34 runs in his 255 plate appearances with the Mets, more than
any Mets player in the same period — Daniel Murphy is second with 31
— and one less than he had driven in 324 plate appearances with the
Braves. Moreover, he has batted .314, scored 30 runs, reduced his rate
of strikeouts, played right field well, continued to intimidate
third-base coaches and baserunners, played hurt and and hit into an
unassisted triple play.




You saved yourself at the end there,
Marty, but I think it’s high time to come home. Anything looks good in
comparison to Ramon Martinez. Francoeur has played well enough be
offered arbitration, but inking him to a long-term deal would be just
as reckless as the Oliver Perez signing.

The Yankees and Red Sox will play on artificial turf in London

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Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:

Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.

Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.

At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.

Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.

It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.

Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.