Ryan Church for Jeff Francoeur: Analyzing the Swap

Phil HoopsCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2009

DENVER - JULY 09:  Jeff Francoeur #7 of the Atlanta Braves takes an at bat against the Colorado Rockies during MLB action at Coors Field on July 9, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Braves 7-6.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Prior to tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds, Mets GM Omar Minaya made an unexpected move when he announced that he traded away RF Ryan Church to the Atlanta Braves for RF Jeff Francoeur.

This deal has left many Mets fans scratching their heads as Church has been one of the lone bright spots for the Mets this year whereas Francoeur, or “Frenchy” as he is affectionately called, continues to be caught in a year-and-a-half slump.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the swap, especially if the Mets have any hope of being successful this year. On paper, the deal looks to be favorable to the Mets. In terms of age, Francoeur (25) is a full five years younger than Church and, theoretically, has still yet to reach his prime years.

More importantly, Francoeur is under team control until 2012, which gives the Mets an ample amount of time to work with him.

Yet, I am still not sold on this trade. Granted, Francoeur put up far better numbers in 2006 and 2007 than Church ever has in a single season. However, Francoeur has struggled mightily ever since the 2008 campaign.

From Opening Day 2008 up until the present, Francoeur has hit .243, which is well below league average. Ryan Church, in comparison, has hit .278. For a team who is in dire need of offense, it cannot afford to lose anymore consistency at the plate.

Looking solely at this season, Church has two home runs and 22 RBI while Francoeur has five home runs and 35 RBI.

While Frenchy clearly has better numbers, they are a bit misleading. It has to be taken into consideration that Turner Field is more friendly to hitters than the spacious Citi Field.

Also, compared to Church, Francoeur RBI total is inflated due to Atlanta's superior lineup.

To be fair, I don’t think the Mets made a bad trade because they did get a much needed right-handed bat for the lineup. However, they certainly did not help their chances of remaining competitive this season.

What this deal tells me is that the Mets are beginning to throw in the towel and, as most Mets fans suggested, rebuild with younger players. Furthermore, in Minaya’s defense, there aren’t too many 25-year-olds who have put together two 100+ RBI seasons.