“My goal is to go out there and prove (the fans) wrong this year. I want to prove to Kansas City fans that what they saw two years ago is what they’re getting this year.” – Jeff Francoeur
I hate starting columns with a quote. It is rule No.1, or at the very least it’s in the top three, of things not to do in journalism. It’s the lazy man’s game of trying to engage a reader. Either you can write a lede, or you can’t, and if you can’t, then you don’t have the passion for what you’re writing.
But in this case, I can’t resist.
A striking display of bravado and delusion (though, I guess I wouldn’t expect less from a professional athlete when asked to talk about himself by a reporter), Jeff Francoeur thinks no one is able to do a simple search for his 2011 numbers, and comparison to the rest of the league in that year, as well as look at his career numbers and not come up with an objective measure. Either that or he’s directing his comments to the front office of the only team that feels about him the way they do.
When Francoeur says it’s “back to the drawing board”, I’m sure he’s referring to his lifetime supply of Etch A Sketches.
In 2011 Jeff Francoeur ranked 14th among 23 qualified right fielders in fWAR. Not first. Not second. Not even in the top 10 as the hyperbole surrounding the player that has spent most of his career being one of the worst everyday players in the sport would suggest. Among players with at least 1000 games played from 2000-2012, he ranks 163 out of 183 in fWAR. That’s not good.
Yet despite all the evidence to the contrary, the media (not all) fail to hold the Royals and Francoeur accountable by writing glitzy articles glossing over just how bad he’s been for most of his career by recounting meaningless stories about naked batting practice and openly, affectionately, calling him “Frenchy”. The Royals fail to hold the Royals accountable for being (hopefully) the only team in baseball willing to give Francoeur an uncontested starting position by trading away – at the very least – an equal player, who’s seven years younger.
But the time to compete is now. Or something.
Hyperbole is what this brand of Royals organization does best. When your regime has never won more than 75 games and every move comes across as more wheels spinning, non-definable rhetoric, hyperbole can be a necessary public relations tactic. The Jeff Francoeur hyperbole train that’s about to come rolling in as Spring Training starts is going to be a fun game of misdirection and illusion.
But, just as this article on FOX Sports KC sums it up nicely: “(Francoeur) ain’t a magician”. The Royals aren’t either. There’s no making this elephant disappear.