I saw this coming while I was at the paddock before the second race, outside the men’s room when I placed my bet. I saw this coming before it even got up this morning.
It’s the inevitable “you know, Jeff Francoeur is the best fit for the Braves team” campaign from the Atlanta media. Complete with the brushing aside of a player who is a better fit as a backup outfielder than Francoeur (Emilio Bonifacio, who can play center field) and a guy making $15 million in Nick Swisher, who the writer says could simply be cut, no-muss, no-fuss. And maybe it happens, I don’t know. Emilio Bonifacio is not someone you build plans around. Swisher’s money is a sunk cost.
But I do know that, whatever the circumstances, it was a 100% certainty — a bet-the-lives-of-your-children mortal lock — that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution people were going to start launching “Francoeur is turning heads” or “Francoeur will make the team” stories come mid-March. I don’t know if it’s club sources or the paper driving it or some combination of both, but there was never going to be a world in which Jeff Francoeur was not going to be portrayed as some sort of inevitability to make the team.
Now, where is my wallet? For the second straight spring I’m going to have to buy a Jeff Francoeur shirsey.