Today has been a day of highs and lows, my friends. First, I learn that the Mets added Rickey Henderson to the coaching staff (in case you were wondering, this was the high). The low? . That’s right. It’s a geriatric caroussel.
When looked at objectively, this should not have come as a surprise. The soon-to-be 49 year-old Franco has been reduced to an occassional pinch-hitting role in 2007. He’s gotten only 50 at-bats so far this season and merely ten hits. The man is actually slugging .260 for god’s sake with a .588 OPS. Attentive Met fans took note that during the game against the A’s on June 24th, Shawn Green had started at first base in lieu of regular Carlos Delgado. Knowing that Julio Franco had not played in any game for four straight days (and only having made a pinch-hitting appearance the day before that), questions arose as to what Franco’s role on the team was. He was batting near the Mendoza line and he couldn’t be counted on to spell the regular first baseman on his day off.
Of course, there is a great deal of sentimentality involved when you talk about a player like Julio Franco. He is the true journeyman, having played in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, and South Korea. How many of us would have been willing to continue on in such fashion when most others had already deemed you to be washed up? But Franco kept playing and in September of 2001, the Atlanta Braves decided to take a shot on him and he ended up turning some heads en route to a .300 AVG in 90 ABs.
Franco has already said that he does not intend to retire – he has previously stated that he would like to play into his fifties. The stat-head in me thinks it’s a bad idea. But the baseball fan in me remembers emulating his iconic batting stance as a seven-year-old and wants Franco to keep going. And to dropkick the stat-head from behind.
I don’t know. What do you guys think? Should he call it a career? If not, would you want him on your team?