Jeff Francouer has impacted this 2009 Mets team in more ways than can be measured.
I admit that when I first heard the news of the Mets trading Ryan Church to Atlanta for Francouer, I was not happy. In fact, I was devastated at this sudden move that seemed to come from nowhere before that Friday afternoon.
At the time, the trade was one of the "your problem now" scenarios for both teams getting rid of players who had for some reason fallen out of favor with management.
Ryan Church has had his fair share of struggles but seemed determined to put last year's concussion issues as far behind him as possible and he was proving to be a positive influence both in the outfield and in the lineup.
Francouer in his time as a Met has been little short of spectacular on and off the field with his bat and his energy, which the Mets were lacking for most of the season.
He is a Gold Glove right fielder and has shown his arm. The defensive lapses have seemed to come on misjudging fly balls, which the stadium lights can account for, but that has been his only weakness as a Met.
Jerry Manuel has said that Francouer is frequently one of the first Mets to arrive each day and shows an enthusiasm for playing hard and winning, something the Mets have struggled with during this injury-plagued season.
One of the people that Francouer helps the most is David Wright, who finally has some protection in the lineup and is currently thriving at the plate.
Francouer has also helped with clubhouse energy and post-game interviews, which Wright had to supply by himself.
By having this load shared, Wright can concentrate on his own game and does not feel as much need to put everyone on his shoulders and carry them.
This is a trait that he is notorious for having. While admirable on many levels, his personal game does suffer as a result.
Manuel has juggled the lineup throughout the season but he has finally found a winning lineup that has Wright-Murphy-Francouer as the number three through five hitters, and it is working for this team.
When Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and Jose Reyes return to the lineup, hopefully sometime in August, this Mets team will be in a great position to at least make a decent run at a Wild Card berth in October.
Should the Mets do the unthinkable and claim their Wild Card spot, Jeff Francouer will be a major reason for their success, as he has seemed to turn this team into winners.