As I wrote on July 22, this is the only move that makes sense:
Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesCarlos Beltran's return will likely shift Angel Pagan to right field and Jeff Francoeur to the bench.
- Manuel told reporters before Sunday’s game against the Braves that he planned to shift Angel Pagan to right field upon Beltran’s return, displacing Francoeur, who Manuel said would start mostly against left-handed pitchers.
“He understands,” Manuel said. “That’s the guy he is.”
Francoeur put it simply: Given the way Pagan is hitting, he deserves to play. As for himself, he said he was not sure what it would be like to come off the bench, but he would take it day by day and do his best as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement.
“You’re not going to see me sitting there sulking,” he said.
I don't know if the Mets are good enough to catch the Braves. But an outfield composed of Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran, and a Pagan/Francoeur platoon is going to put some runs on the board. The Mets currently rank 12th in the league in OPS, and they simply have to improve by at least a few spots in the second half. Getting Beltran into the lineup every day (and Francoeur out) won't solve the problem, but you do what you can and hope Ike Davis and Jose Reyes do their parts, too.
Meanwhile, Francoeur's public reaction gives us an idea of why his managers seem to have been so fond of him.