Presented with zero snark or schadenfreude or I-told-you-so or anything else except objective observation:
San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 20, 2013
Jeff Francoeur has, for some time now, been a popular object of scoring among the objectively minded. It wasn't that he didn't seem like a good guy (he did) or that he didn't have any talents (he could definitely throw). But it's hard to watch a player getting regular work for supposedly contending teams when he's obviously -- objectively speaking, I mean -- worse than other players who are freely available in the minor leagues, or perhaps even sitting in the stands.
It was never personal. It was intellectual. Our brains told us that Francoeur shouldn't be playing. And after enough months of that, one can develop a bit of an obsession. We were obsessed with Frenchy, and Baseball Men like Dayton Moore and Ned Yost and Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean were obsessed with Frenchy. Just for different reasons.
Vastly different reasons.
But now Frenchy's gone, at least for now. Which leaves us with ... Well, Yuniesky Betancourt, of course. Especially with Willie Bloomquist on the Disabled List, the objective choice for bête noire du jour is obviously Betancourt, who continues to play regularly despite a .268 on-base percentage, lousy defense, and sub-replacement-level performance for five seasons running. Really, he's much more interesting than Francoeur, because he hasn't been good since forever ago but keeps getting not just work, but regular work.
What about après-demain, though? May we assume, at least for the sake of argument, that Francoeur is finished as an every-day player, and that no team will be as desperate next year as the Brewers were this year? May we assume that Delmon Young has run out of gullible general managers?
Ah, but there's one obvious candidate for the crown in 2014, and coincidentally (or not) he spent most of this season teaming up with Delmon Young. While Michael Young might not return to the Phillies next season, his batting average probably ensures him a job somewhere if he wants one. Consider: Coming off a .277/.312/.370 campaign, Young went to the Phillies in a salary dump, with the Phillies dumping $7.2 million into Young's bank account this season.
He's currently hitting .271/.334/.393. So if he was good enough to play for the Phillies to acquire, and then play every day this season, won't he be good enough to play every day for somebody next season? Despite two straight seasons of sub-replacement-level performance?
Probably. If not, though, we'll have to pull hard for Frenchy or Yuni to get another shot. Because without a bête noire, there is only emptiness.