You may recall back in August, Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal penned an article asking why no one was paying attention to the fact that the great Jeff Francoeur, then of the Mets, was about to hit an historic milestone that has only been reached by hundreds and hundreds of people before him – 100 career homeruns.

Naturally, I mocked him, because I’m a miserable bastard who can only communicate through cynicism. But I recently read the words of a man who can clearly refute the ridiculous claims of Jeff Francoeur’s brilliance put forth by Mike Sielski. And that man, is Mike Sielski.

So let’s debate this, shall we? It’s the August version of Mike Sielski dueling with the October version of Mike Sielski! The topic: Does Jeff Francoeur deserve a job as a starter?

August version of Sielski, your opening statements please.

Few people have noticed that Jeff Francoeur, the Mets rightfielder, needs just one more home run to reach 100. Instead of giving him every opportunity to reach the mark (and only 4.35% of all Major League Baseball players have, according to Stats Inc.) the Mets are trying to shove the guy out of their starting lineup.”

Thank you, Mike. So you feel that the Mets did Mr. Francoeur a complete disservice for not playing him, as opposed to taking the stance that Mr. Francoeur is whining over playing time that he arguably did not deserve. October Sielski, what do you have to say to that?

The problem here isn’t that Mr. Francoeur might have shown the Mets a modicum of disrespect. It’s that he thought that, by starting in right field each game, he could help a team reach the playoffs.

So you’re taking the opposite stance – that Mr. Francoeur is incapable of helping a team as a regular. August Sielski, do you have a retort?

(Mr. Francoeur) will be relegated to a quasi-platoon in the outfield… if the Mets are doing all they can to stay in contention… it might behoove them to play their hottest hitter as much as possible.

Interesting. October Sielski, does August Sielski have a point here?

That’s who Mr. Francoeur is: a role player. When decision-makers within baseball start to objectify a player in such a manner—a right-handed bat, a left-handed arm, speed on the bases—it’s time for that player to recognize the reality of his situation. And in truth, it’s been long past that time for Mr. Francoeur.

August Sielski, what’s your take on Mr. Francoeur’s monetary value as we head towards the offseason?

There is still time for Mr. Francouer to blossom in his late 20s, of course.

Well that’s true of any one playing professional ball at his age. But based on his production and career arc, can that be reasonably expected?

Mr. Francoeur is well-liked among his teammates.

That doesn’t answer the question, August Sielski. We all know that everyone loves Mr. Francoeur as a person. October Sielski, your thoughts on the matter?

Mr. Francoeur couldn’t contain his delusions of grandeur when it came to the money he might command on the open market.He isn’t eligible for free agency until after next season, but during a conversation before a game in Philadelphia, he referenced Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard and Joe Mauer—three of baseball’s elite players—in talking about the factors that might affect where he played in the years to come.

“If I go out there and do what I can this year,” he said then, “hopefully we’ll see something happen, and it’ll be good.”

What he did was perform with the same inconsistency, the same lack of plate discipline, that has characterized his career.

Those are some harsh words, October Sielski. Now, August Sielski, your closing arguments, please.

Mr. Francoeur is well-liked among his teammates.

Thank you. Well put. October Sielski?

He’s an approachable, affable person, and he’ll probably start again in Game 3 on Monday against lefty Andy Pettitte because that is his job now—a niche player on a good team. That is his role. He needs to understand and acknowledge it, or he might never be so happy in October again.

Well that about does it here for “Point-Counterpoint”. I’d like to thank August Sielski and October Sielski for participating in such a spirited debate between himself. Until next time, please remember that just because you wrote something two months ago, it doesn’t mean that the internet doesn’t retain this information.

2 Responses to “Point-Counterpoint: Jeff Francoeur”

  1. Nice! Unfortunately, the August article was written as satire. Oops!

  2. I’ve heard that Sielski is trying to convince people that his August column was satire. But there was no line in that column that was obviously sarcastic. If it was satire, it was very poorly done.

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