In his blog over at MLB.com, Mark Bowman lays out the offensive woes of the Atlanta outfield, and in the comments section, Bowman even ponders the potential release of Jeff Francoeur:"When I look at myself in the mirror, I'd have to say that my fault is that I've given Francoeur a break for far too long. There's no doubt that the leniency stems from the fact that he's a great guy. But at the end of the day we all have a job to do. My job is to relay information to the public and thus, I've written two entries this week preparing you for the possibility that Frenchy's days in Atlanta might be numbered. It will be very difficult for the Braves to trade him. As for a return to the Minors, I don't know if that would help anybody. Thus, you can't ignore the possibility that if things don't improve soon there's a definite possibility that they could release him."
Here's some of the unfortunate "highlights" of the Braves' struggles, if you can call them that:
- In 12 games since being activated from the DL, Garret Anderson is hitting .283/.321/.326 with just one extra base hit - a double. All this comes along with limited range in the outfield.
- In 66 May at-bats, Francoeur is hitting .197/.214/.273.
- For his career, Francoeur has averaged 630 ABs per season. Over his last 631 ABs, dating back to May 6, 2009, Francoeur is hitting .235/.287/.341 with 11 HR. Over that time, among players with 500 ABs, only Michael Bourn, Chone Figgins, Bobby Crosby, Willy Taveras, and Jason Kendall have lower slugging percentages, and only Chris Young of Arizona has a lower OBP. Ouch.
- Rookie Jordan Schafer's .660 OPS is the highest of any of the three Braves outfielders mentioned thus far.
So what's Frank Wren to do? He's clearly in need of immediate upgrades in the outfield, and Atlanta would seem to have the pitching to spare. Let's hear some suggestions from the MLBTR world: How can Wren save this situation?