SportsCrack Blog

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Not quite 'The Natural' that was

Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

He’s come a long way from the cover of Sports Illustrated. ‘The Natural’ is no longer the prospect nor person he once was. For everything I’ve heard about Frenchy being down to Earth, relaxed, positive, smart, and talented, all I can say is that I’m still waiting for him to be humble. Since the cover of SI, Francoeur has done nothing to live up to the nickname. He joined the Atlanta team as the right fielder of the future in 2005 and looked every bit the part. Labeled as the savior of the Bravos, Francoeur, McCann, Boyer, Davies, McBride, Johnson, and the rest of the nicknamed “Baby Braves” are all gone, with the exception of McCann, and the Braves have been better for it.

Jeff is headed to his 3rd team in 5 seasons, 2nd in 18 months, and is still saying he’s looking for the opportunity to play every day. Hitting .237 with 11 HRs and 54 RBIs shouldn’t guarantee anyone the everyday label. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals couldn’t find an opportunity for him to play every day so Francoeur somehow got traded to the division leading Texas Rangers on Tuesday to “help” them against left handed pitching.

I wish the kid all the best, but it seems to me that it’s time for a come to Jesus moment, and by Jesus, I don’t mean go and talk with Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, or Tim Tebow, although I have heard reports that talking to Tim Tebow can cure Lupus so it wouldn’t hurt for Jeff to try. While in Atlanta, Frenchy proved to be hard headed and immature. As if getting demoted to the minors to straighten his swing, and presumably his head out, Jeff came back up and struggled more. In the off season, he went around the Braves to get instruction from a “personal” hitting coach. Even the conservative Terry Pendleton was quoted as saying the Braves had obviously paid attention to the wrong guy meaning that Brian McCann should have, and justifiably so, been the focus of the “face of the organization” talk from day 1.

It’s time for Francoeur to wake up. Talent plus desire does not equal success. At some point, you have to realize what kind of player you are, what kind of player you want to be, and do the things it takes to make up the difference. Those things aren’t demanding higher salaries, demanding playing time, and spurning coaches to do things on your own terms. The guy has a world of talent, but is in the process of making Oliver Perez’s decision to spurn management and refuse to be designated to AAA to improve a stroke of genius.

Take my advice Jeff, go to Texas with an open mind and be willing to listen to management and work on what they say your issues are. Those guys have been around a lot longer and like it or not, pay your salary. Good luck with the Rangers and if all else fails, get Saint Tebow to bless your bat, hey it’s worth a shot.

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