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Good-bye, Jeff Francouer

Do you realize how long it took us to nail down the exact way to spell "Francouer" without having to look it up? It's a clumsy name, pronounced far differently than it's spelled, and has three contrasting vowels almost randomly placed together. Also: For a player as clearly deficient in many of the basic Major League Baseball playing abilities — strike-zone discipline, patience, discretion with the media — it sure did seem like we were typing his name a lot. And now he's gone.

The Rangers, for reasons that are perhaps best elucidated in graphical form by Baseball Think Factory, traded for Francoeur last night, sending infielder Joaquin Arias to the Mets. Arias is yet another middle infielder — the Mets are not short on those — but he has some upside, at least as much upside as a 25-year-old who has been on the Rangers roster almost all season but has only 100 at-bats. More to the point: The Mets not only found someone who wanted Jeff Francoeur, they found someone who was willing to give them something for him. As long as Joaquin Arias isn't Spanish for "widespread scabies," the Mets win the trade.

Francoeur, as he was when he was traded by the Braves, had the typical "I can't believe it had to end like this" and "I guess I'm just not in their plans" quotes afterward; Jeff Francoeur is always the last person to understand that he has no business on a Major League roster, or at least not in a starting lineup. The Rangers will surely let him go after this year, and you have to seriously wonder if there will be a roster spot in the Majors for him at the beginning of next season. For a guy who was the starting right-fielder on the 2006 USA World Baseball Classic team, it's quite a fall. But hey: The beat guys love him. Maybe we can all split the difference and make him a studio analyst, so all the media folks can love him in person and no one else has to watch him flail at sliders two feet off the plate.

We may eventually regret that last statement.

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Photo: Doug Benc/Getty Images