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Jeff Francoeur was depressed last year

Feb 20, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT

Jeff Francoeur AP AP

Jeff Francoeur was cut by the Giants before the season was over last year. This after a disastrous 2013 season and a sub-par 2012 season. He’s in Indians camp now, likely with his las shot at the majors. Paul Hoynes spoke with him and he talked about what was ailing him at the end of the season:

“To put it mildly, I think I was depressed at the end of last year,” said Francoeur, in camp with the Indians on a minor-league deal. “My wife, Catie, and my family came up to see me in Washington when I was with San Francisco. I weighed 201 pounds. I weigh 220 now. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t taking care of myself . . . The last year and half to two years I haven’t had that much fun. I kind of missed the joy of coming to the yard. Hopefully, there is an opportunity here for me to contribute.”

Not surprising that when he played well baseball was fun. When he played poorly it wasn’t. It’s probably more sad to see Francoeur discouraged than most players because he has always had a far happier sense about him than most.

I’ve given Francoeur a lot of guff over the years. But I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone. And I’m hoping that he makes it work in Cleveland. Or, short of that, that he accepts an assignment to Columbus. I’d go to Huntington Park and cheer for him.

  1. gothapotamus90210 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    He wasn’t eating his Vitamin S.

  2. Paul White - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    In three years here in Kansas City, Jeff Francoeur didn’t contribute much on the field, but proved himself over and over again to be a truly great guy. Regardless of whether he can skill play major league baseball, I hope he gets his naturally sunny disposition back. He’s a class act and I wish him well.

    • rejamaro - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      Three years ago he did contribute a lot on and off the field. He had a great year for the Royals. But it all fell apart the next year and continued into last year. But to say he didn’t contribute much on the field is stretching it just a little bit.

      • Paul White - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:27 AM

        In the clubhouse, I’m sure Francoeur contributed quite a bit. But on the field? In 360 games and almost 1500 plate appearances for KC, Francoeur accumulated -0.1 bWAR while being paid $16 million. So you’re right, I was stretching it just a little bit to say he didn’t contribute much on the field. Technically, he contributed nothing on the field, but I was trying to be charitable because he was such a genuinely nice guy.

    • spudchukar - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      Hey, give him the Mr. Congeniality trophy. It isn’t about personality. The guy has talent. But he has never ever attempted to learn the fine art of hitting. In some ways he is a stubborn, selfish fool. I’m sorry, but he has stolen from whomever he has played for due to his unwillingness to adapt. He is a classic example of a guy who pissed away an enormous talent ’cause he refused to listen to those who wanted to help him. I hope he wallows in torment in his later years wondering what could have been.

      • Matt S - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:22 AM

        ” I hope he wallows in torment in his later years wondering what could have been.”

        Classy thing to say about a guy suffering from depression!

      • spudchukar - Feb 21, 2014 at 8:43 AM

        Sorry to those I offended. Actually I didn’t read the post, and didn’t think the “depression” was a real diagnosis. Of course I wouldn’t hope the guy ill-feelings if he is suffering from a mental disease. My bad. I stand by the criticism of his wasted talent, but hope he can find the medical attention he needs.

  3. dacty4491 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Being a Braves fan, I’ve more or less followed Jeff Francoeur’s career over the years. He’s always had an unrealistic opinion of his own abilities. When he was in Atlanta, he seemed to think that he was destined to be a star, the heir to Chipper Jones’ position as The Man on the club. Since then, he’s always seemed to have an excuse for why he hasn’t performed at that level. If that’s true, he was setting himself up for a bout with depression when he finally had to face the reality that he’s just not that good.

    • delfiteblu - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      I’m a Braves fan who has followed him as well, and I couldn’t agree LESS. Do you not remember how he could throw from right field to home plate? He COULD hit, and from all I’ve seen of Chipper Jones since he left, Francoeur could only be an improvement as THE MAN on the club. I never really understood why the Braves traded him and I think that if they hadn’t, he wouldn’t be nearly as depressed. Nearly would Braves fans considering the junk, other than Heyward, that we have in our outfield NOW.

      • clemente2 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:00 PM

        J.Upton? Junk? You know nothing.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        No, he got it right… Junk Upton and his brother – Broken Junk Upton

    • wpjohnson - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      I’, a Myrtle Beach Pelicans fan who has closely followed Francoeur since he was playing at the beach. When you follow a minor league team and attend many games, you get to know the players and a lot about them. Francoeur is likely the most popular player to ever play at MB. He was great with the fans. The little teenage girls loved him and he tolerated their silliness well. He is a positive influence in a sport that has less positive influences each year. Those who snip at him don’t know him. I wish him only the best. He deserves it.

    • wpjohnson - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      I, a Myrtle Beach Pelicans fan since the team was established, have closely followed Francoeur since he was playing at the beach. When you follow a minor league team and attend many games, you get to know the players and a lot about them. Francoeur is likely the most popular player to ever play at MB. He was great with the fans. The little teenage girls loved him and he tolerated their silliness well. He is a positive influence in a sport that has less positive influences each year. Those who snip at him don’t know him. I wish him only the best. He deserves it.

  4. sfm073 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Never understood fans and media alike giving professional athletes “guff” because they aren’t very good on that level. This guy has made how many millions to play a game and what are you doing? That’s right sitting on your computer dreaming of his life.

    • Tim OShenko - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      True, pretty much all of us would love to make it to the bigs, even if our talent level wouldn’t even be that of a Francoeur. But just because we’ll never be that good doesn’t mean we can’t offer critical assessment of his performance.

      To put it another way, I can’t paint worth a darn, but I can tell the difference between a Van Gogh and a Gauguin, and know which one I’d rather have hanging on my wall.

  5. andreweac - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    You don’t understand the importance of tWtW if you think justin Upton is better than Frenchy. Just ask Kirk Gibson for validation.

  6. crmtide96 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    So were Royals fans by his play…

  7. dirtyharry1971 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    He wasn’t the only one depressed last year, Bluejay ownership was, AA was, Gibbons was, RA was, Buerhle was, Rickey Romero was, ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    • Old Gator - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      So was everyone who was subjected to your one-dimensional idiocy on this blog.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:41 PM

        who you kidding? im the sunshine of your life, just admit it

  8. mpzz - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    His career has been over for years. Why is he still around? What makes all these teams want to give him millions to play horribly?

  9. blingslade - Feb 21, 2014 at 6:47 AM

    Frenchy did what a lot of major leaguers do; he maxed out on PED’s during his contract year and played great. Once he got signed to a GUARANTEED, juicy, fat, contract he got off the PED’s so he wouldn’t get caught.

    • stex52 - Feb 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Care to share your sources with us? I bet not.

      Troll.

  10. dukepatrol - Feb 21, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    A smile and the nickname Frenchy ain’t gonna take you to far. Was miserable during most of his Mets Career

  11. Francisco (FC) - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    Or, short of that, that he accepts an assignment to Columbus. I’d go to Huntington Park and cheer for him.

    Full Circle, eh Craig?

  12. mediocrebob - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    As far as “unrealistic opinions of himself”, I will have to disagree. The media may have had the unrealistic opinions, but as a player and competitor, you have to play with that confidence. Media were the ones expecting him to be a superstar when he was in ATL. And as a braves fan, I remember him having a few pretty solid years at the start of his career.

    Id compare his career to Grady Sizemore. Although he wasn’t plagued with injuries quite like Sizemore, unrealistic expectations were set early in their careers which set them up for failure.

  13. yordo - Feb 21, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    Craig, you need to reach out to him. It’s the least you can do.

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