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Prying Francoeur from the Braves

The other day Yahoo!'s Gordon Edes was reporting that the Red Sox were scouting Jeff Francoeur. I kind of doubt it actually, given that Francoeur is pretty much the polar opposite of what Theo Epstein, Bill James and the rest of that gang in Boston looks for in a player. My guess: if Red Sox people were in Atlanta, they were advance scouting the Blue Jays.

But let’s say it’s true, and the Sox truly are interested in Failcouer. What should the Braves expect back for him? If I were Frank Wren I’d probably be happy with anything north of a kick to the groin, and I’d consider the kick to the groin for a good long while if it meant ditching Frenchy. But I’m not Frank Wren and I have a hard time handicapping trades. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is stumped too, so they threw the question out to their readers. Among the actual responses they received were “A bag of beans"; “20 bats and they pay his ticket out of town"; “A ham sandwich to be named later"; “air"; and “Ortiz.” I’m not sure whether that last one is a bigger insult to Big Papi or Francoeur. That ham sandwich offer seems pretty sweet though.

While this is an obviously unscientific survey, it does have some value: it challenges the assumption the Braves seem to have that local-boy Francoeur is some uber-popular guy in Atlanta who must be given more latitude to stink than other players are. He’s not, and even the message board posters of the AJC -- where the worst of the Francoeur apologists tend to reside -- have turned on him.

What that means, I think, is that unless that offer of the ham sandwich -- or even the kick to the groin -- becomes available, Frank Wren has the cover to designate baseball’s biggest out machine for assignment.