Beltran's Return Means Francouer May Be The Odd Man Out

Anderson JesseContributor IJuly 14, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 08:  Jeff Francoeur #12 of the New York Mets reacts after striking out against the Florida Marlins on April 8, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

With Carlos Beltran set to rejoin the Mets when they return to action in San Francisco on Thursday, rightfielder Jeff Francouer seems to be the odd man out of the Mets outfield mix.

The Mets would have a tough time justifying a decrease in playing time for Angel Pagan, as the switch hitter has hit .335 since May 1. Despite Pagan only having started 24 career games in right field, he's displayed the arm and speed necessary to take care of Citi Field's expansive right field.

That leaves Francouer and leftfielder Jason Bay, the team's $66 million "prized" offseason acquisition.

Bay has struggled mightily in the last month or so, hitting a mere .250 in June and is only 6-for-33 in the month of July. The leftfielder's contract will play a determining role in the distribution of playing time in the outfield. Despite his struggles, Bay is a notoriously streaky hitter and may benefit from the reduced pressure of a lower spot in the lineup.

Which brings us to Francouer. Oh Frenchy. At the break, he's hitting just .253 and ended the first half on a cold streak, going just 5 for his last 33. His frustratingly inconsistent hiting this season and eternal lack of plate discipline doesn't bode well for Francouer in the eyes of Jerry Manuel.

Beltran doesn't figure to play every single day once returning so it's not as if Francouer won't still get his at bats. Francouer is hitting .348 against lefties this season (as opposed to only .223 against righties) so some sort of platoon seems in order.

The Mets will likely be facing two lefties this weekend, which is great news for Francouer who will be looking to earn more at bats for himself.

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