JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Ryan Church for Jeff Francoeur

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I love transactions. In fact, I love transactions significantly more than I love the games themselves. I love drafts, I love free agency, I love releases.

More than anything, I love trades.

Not salary-influenced trades, either. I love trades of seemingly equal parts. Josh Hamilton for Edison Volquez. Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields. Ken Griffey, Sr. for Claudell Washington and Paul Zuvella. Growing up in New York, my heart would race every time the Mets or Yankees discussed a deal. In this town, names always flew back and forth, in and out. Tim Foli, Joel Youngblood, Steve Balboni, John Mayberry, Steve Henderson, Ronn Reynolds. One never knew who was in and who was out—only that the shopping never stopped.

Hence, I was thrilled to return from France and see that the Mets and Braves had swapped disappointing outfielders, Ryan Church and Jeff Francoeur. Objectively speaking, it’s hard to blame either team. Francoeur had morphed from the next Vlad Guerrero to the next Billy Sample, and the post-concussion Church was little more than a spare part in New York. If I have to pick an edge, it goes to the Mets. Francoeur may well go down as a one-hit wonder, but his potential is undeniable. He could wind up batting .230 with 12 homers and 60 RBI, or he could turn things around and hit .290 with 30 homers and 95 RBI. Church, however, is Church. A solid, blah ballplayer with little to offer.

Advantage: Mets.