Julio Franco

So, the Braves are bringing Julio Franco back. Most likely the Braves will send a pitcher down—they have 13 on the roster, and Ascanio, Davies, and Reyes could all use some time in the minors—and Julio will join Thorman in a pinch hitter platoon off the bench. I suspect he’ll get a few starts against lefties when Salty gets days off—he’ll need them if he’s backing up McCann—and play in blowouts.

I like the move probably more than I should, because I like Julio. But the Braves always add a veteran PH about this time every year, and I prefer to have someone who is cheap (prorated league minimum) who has a good approach. While he didn’t do much with the Mets this year, he didn’t get much of an opportunity. He hit .200 in just 50 ABs, but he walked 10 times. Maybe some of that plate discipline will rub off on teammates. The Mets have started the leak machine that he’s done and that he was a clubhouse problem, which nearly guarantees he’ll punish the Mets later this year. Come on guys, have a little class. We don’t need someone to tell us he’s old, and I don’t think anyone is buying the bad teammate story. In Atlanta, it will be nice to have another right-handed batter on the bench. If he’s done, well he’s done. But it’s hard to imagine he’s a worse option as a PH than Chris Woodward.

I see a few losers for the Braves: Scott Thorman (obviously), Brayan Pena (now there really isn’t a place for him, unless Thorman is moved), and Terry Pendleton. By all accounts, Julio is popular with Braves players, and I don’t think many will turn a deaf ear to his advice. If his career ends at the conclusion of the year, and players give Julio some credit (instead of other players’ fathers), TP might find himself in a new position.

9 Responses “Julio Franco”

  1. Ron says:

    This move makes me wonder if JS has decided he will definitely trade Salty. Thorman seems even less suited to be a pinch hitter than a platoon first baseman. He and Davies need to be sent down to work out their struggles in Richmond.

  2. Dave says:

    It’s occurences such as this that I don’t think the Mets can get any dumber. They release Franco citing a .200 BA (even though his OBP his higher than 3 everyday players plus Valentin’s) Why doesn’t Valentin heed his own advice and shut up as long as his OBP is .302? But to essentially replace a .200 hitter with a player hitting .174/.269/.217 at Triple-A (Marlon Anderson) doesn’t do much for run production. The Mets would be better off giving a roster spot to Rickey Henderson than Marlon Anderson. There’s a guy who could probably still draw a base on balls. Maybe instead he’ll teach some of the young guys how to draw walks. Of course, the Valentins of the clubhouse will probably tell him to stick it if Henderson is no longer doing it himself.

    How is it that the Braves are 2 1/2 games back of this team?

  3. Jordi says:

    I watch the mets a lot, and I’ve got to say that a) it was a good move for the mets to cut Franco and b) it will probably be an equally good move for the braves to pick him up. While franco’s walk rate was excellent, his usefulness was severely limited by both his newfound inability to play the field and, more importantly, his lack of hustle. I don’t remember the details, but for a while now Franco was not able to play first base due to some minor injury. It got so bad that we actually started Shawn Green there against a lefty. Also, Franco has had a really nasty habit of not running out ground balls and pop ups, which is unfortunate because he was usually coming to the plate late in close games. The last straw was when he did not run out a grounder that was booted, costing the mets the tying run in the 9th inning. I’m not entirely sure, but I believe that was his last game with the mets. It should be noted that this lack of effort coincided with similar incidents with Jose Reyes. Randolph benched Reyes, but it can’t help when the “player/coach” does the same darn thing.

    And I concur with the last writer–I can’t believe the Mets are still in first place. My only conclusion is that the Braves and Phillies are just as flawed. But you’re their fans: you tell me.

  4. Charlie says:

    Come on guys, do you really think the Braves brought Franco on for his OBP or his “great” infield skills. Franco is as old as the “hills” and the fact that everytime he steals a base he becomes the oldest player to do so. And the fact that he can still play with guys literally half his age is a testament to his work ethic and his ability to adapt to the game. He brings something to the Braves that we have been missing and that is Veteran support.

    I don’t think anyone including Franco expects him to hit .300 and have 25 stolen bases and run out ground balls. He’s a good guy to have on your bench for the simple fact of his presence. There probably isn’t a situation he hasn’t seen in his career. I think the front office have a soft spot for Franco and who can blame them after all he’s been playing the game longer than many in the organization have been alive.

  5. DK says:

    Mets fan bias disclosure ….
    Franco had been doing absolutely nothing but taking up a roster spot on the Mets. He was terrible in big spots, cannot hit a ball to the left side, cannot field a ball that’s not hit right to him and runs like Sid Fernandez carrying Cecil Fielder on his back. Yeah, he’s been complaining about the lack of PT ( I don’t buy the clubhouse problems), but he declined a start a few weeks ago citing a problem with his knee. Whatever, at this point he’s guaranteed to win a game for the Braves over the Mets at some point down the stretch, but we’ll just have to live with that. And like someone said earlier, I’m not so sure what Marlon Anderson is doing on the team, nor why Jose Valentin (bum knee) is playing in lieu of Ruben Gotay, but this is Willie Randolph we’re talking about … the worst decision maker this side of Steve Phillips.

  6. Ron says:

    Franco will get on base more than Thorman. That’s all that really matters right now for the Braves until they figure out whether they are trading for a first baseman or playing Salty there every day.

  7. Jason says:

    I have to say that I’m very disappointed in the Braves for doing this. I think Franco is washed up and will just end up taking valuable at bats away from Salty. While I actually like Franco and think he might actually be a good guy in the clubhouse, I remember that this is the same organization that let Brian Jordan play for 2 full seasons after he should have retired because of his “leadership”. All I can say is that every time I heard Jordan open his mouth, he was complaining about something. I don’t think TP will ever leave the team as long as Cox is there. Cox is way too loyal to his assistant coaches and he’ll never replace TP.

    To me, this is just the same old song as before. Rather than play Mark DeRosa at SS some years ago, the Braves were compelled to bring the “great” Ray Sanchez here. Rather than play Salty at 1B, let’s give the bats to Franco. He probably will be better than Wilson was, but I don’t expect Salty to play much at 1B now, which I think is a big mistake.

  8. Ron says:

    Salty won’t be a Brave after the 31st anyway.

  9. Marc Schneider says:

    I think the fact the Braves have actually put Julio in at first demonstrates the problems they have. I can’t see him contributing much at this point, although I admit I would like to see him reach his goal of playing to 50. Re the comment above, it’s obvious the NL East is a lousy division. The Braves and Phillies are pretty mediocre teams and, at this point, so are the Mets. As a Braves fan, I just can’t get excited about this team. I hope this is just a reflection of the team going through a transition because it’s hard to settle for this garbage after so many years of excellence. But maybe this is the year the Braves get hot at the end and roll through the playoffs. I wouldn’t bet the mortgage with an NBA official on that though.