July 11, 2009 at 11:25 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Player Analysis, Q&A, Transactions
Update 07/12/2009: See Bottom.
Dave Doyle is a very well-respected Mets Blogger over at Mets Report, a site he writes and maintains. We both exchanged questions and answers about the player our team just traded away. If you’re looking for any New York Mets content, please visit the Mets Report, a top-notch blog. Without further ado:
Q: Church gets a bad rap defensively. Yet the statistics (UZR and +/-) suggest he’s a slightly above-average defender. Tell us about his glove work from a fans’ perspective.
A: He’s not Roberto Clemente but Church is definitely an above average right fielder. He even filled in for Carlos Beltran in center field very capably on occasion this season. His arm is very good, not as good as Francoeur though. And he has surprising range for his body type plus good instincts on the ball. An above average fielder is a perfect description of him.
Q: We frequently hear things along the lines of “Ryan Church was in Manuel’s doghouse”. Two questions, 1) was he actually in Manuel’s doghouse and 2) what did he do to get there?
A: Church was definitely not one of Jerry Manuel’s guys. Manuel said in spring training that Daniel Murphy is a better hitter than Church (which is questionable at best). And Manuel wouldn’t even refer to Church by name when he missed third base in Los Angeles that cost the Mets a game on May 18th. Manuel referred to him as “the guy” that missed third. Those are a couple of examples among countless others that gave an indication that Manuel had a problem with Church. Both Manuel and Church denied there was a problem publicly, but there clearly was a problem. I’m not sure what caused the problem initially. My suspicion is that Manuel always expected more from Church than we got on the field and/or that it was just a bad personality mix.
Q: On the surface the Francoeur-Church swap seems like a “change of scenery” trade. I know Francoeur will benefit from being away from the Braves, do you think Church will benefit from playing in Atlanta (or being away from the Mets)?
A: That’s a good question. It was widely reported here in New York during the off-season that Ryan Church didn’t like playing in New York and wanted out. This was reported by Mike Francesa on WFAN radio. Francesa said he got that from a reliable source in the Mets organization. Church denied the story. But I think that there was something to it myself. So I do think that going to the Braves will be a positive move for Church. I don’t think the Mets, as an organization, came to think of Church as part of the solution to their problems.
Q: What was your reaction when the Mets dealt Milledge for Church and Schnider within the division and what was your reaction to the Mets dealing Church for Francouer, also within the division?
A: I wasn’t surprised that Milledge was traded. He had major problems with some of the veterans on the Mets, notably Billy Wagner. But I think it was a unanimous fan reaction that the Mets should’ve gotten more than Church and Schneider for him. I have to admit that I was surprised that the Mets would make a deal with the Braves. But my reaction is that it seems like a pretty even deal. I’ve heard from Mets fans that they hate this deal. But neither Church nor Francoeur is likely to have a major impact on the division race overall.
Q: Are Atlanta baseball fans going to like Church?
A: Another good question. Church doesn’t say much. But when he speaks, he’s always said all of the right things while he’s been in New York. His comments to the media have always shown class and maturity. He’s not going to come into town and rock the boat with inflammatory comments or actions. He never dogs it in the field or on the bases. The only thing that’s frustrating to watch is that he doesn’t hit lefties well. If he’s platooning, that won’t be an issue.