- I guess the biggest news locally is the trade the Braves made that sent Jeff Francouer to the Mets in exchange for Ryan Church. There has been a lot of differing opinions being thrown around on this one, but I come down solidly in favor of the move.
Frenchy has been steadily declining in production ever since his sophomore season, and things don't look like they are turning around anytime soon. For that reason, the Braves were looking at a scenario after this season in which they were probably not going to tender him a contract at all...they weren't going to pay the approximately $5M he would most likely win in arbitration. That is more than they are willing to pay for a .240 hitter with minimal power and virtually no run production, who has a great arm but is only slightly above average defensively.
On top of that, add the growing tension between Francouer, who is still holding a grudge about being sent down to the minors last year, and the team, which is still mad at Francouer for going outside of the organization for help with his swing this past offseason, which they saw as a show of disrespect to Terry Pendleton (which.....whatever, that's stupid and I'm not going to get into the whole thing here)...and really, it was time for Francouer to go.
I think Frank Wren did a good job in what he got back...Church is about equal in his hitting for power, and he will hit for a better average and OBP than we were ever going to get out of Frenchy. I'm not saying it's a HUGE upgrade...we didn't trade for Albert Pujols or anything. But it's an upgrade, and considering the situation I think it was the best we were going to get. Certainly compared to the NOTHING we were going to get once the season was over and we let him go.
As for the people complaining because we did the deal with the Mets, I think it's crazy to say we will NEVER do a deal with our rivals, especially if we can actually come out on the positive side as I believe we have here.
Don't just take MY word for it:
Rob Neyer, ESPN.com: "Wow. Church must really have worn out his welcome with the Mets. Since coming off the DL in early June, Church's line is .290/.336/.402 ... far from good for a corner outfielder, but decent enough compared to most of the Mets' other outfielders ... and of course a far sight prettier than Francoeur's .250/.282/.352 line for the season....So, let's review: The Braves got a decent hitter and fielder who bats left-handed, and thus can platoon (or semi-platoon) with Matt Diaz in right field. The Mets got ... what, exactly? If you figure it out, drop a line to Jerry Manuel. He's going to need all the help he can get with this one."
Bottom line...it's sad to see him go. I had really high hopes for him, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him the first year and a half of his career. For the last two years, though, he has been a disaster at the plate. Maybe the change of scenery will help him, but the Braves were really left with no choice, in my opinion.
Doesn't matter for this year, anyway. This team is done. Had a golden opportunity yesterday to end the first half on a positive note, and even reach .500 for the first time in months, but blew it. Don't know if you saw it or not, but Garrett Anderson made one of the worst throws I have ever seen from a ML outfielder in the disastrous 7th inning...from shallow left field he missed third base by about 30 feet. How is that even possible?
- Another celebrity death....Arturo "Thunder" Gatti was found dead at 37, and reports coming out now are that he may have been strangled to death by his 23 year old wife.
I used to love watching Gatti fight...he would always cut weight like a mad man, and then by the time the fight started he would outweigh his opponents by like 15 pounds and he would just beat the daylights out of them. Not exactly fair, but it sure was fun to watch.
And of course, his trilogy with Mickey Ward was just old school boxing at its finest:
RIP, Thunder....you will be remembered.
- The Dawgs recruiting train continues to maintain speed, with the committment over the weekend of 4-star safety Jakar Hamilton out of Georgia Military. With him and earlier safety commit Alec Ogletree, the safety position looks to be in pretty good shape over the next couple of years.
Dawgs now have 14 committments for the 2010 class, and probably only have about 7-8 slots left. We are already hearing rumors (and that's all they are) that guys are now being told to hold off on committing to make sure we have enough slots for the big-time guys we are still in on (like Mack Brown, Garrison Smith, TJ Stripling, etc). Just have to keep telling myself...Trust the Coaches, Trust the Coaches...
- Tomorrow is a huge day....NCAA '10 comes out for Playstation. As usual, I have a couple of days off planned over the next couple of weeks in order to be able to pull a couple of all-nighters...I'll let you know how it is. I have a Playstation 2, though, so really the only changes we ever see anymore are just the updated rosters.
I do know this...EA Sports released their preseason rankings to coincide with the release of the game...they have the Dawgs at 13, and the Gnats at 18. HAH!!! Suck on THAT, nerds!!!!
Only 54 more days to kickoff!!!