August 18th, 2011. It's a day that started out as any other in Kansas City. The Royals had just topped the New York Yankees 5-4 the night before, and Jeff Francoeur was 0-for-2 in the win, but to his credit he drew two walks. Meanwhile Melky Cabrera lugged out his fourth triple of the season and was batting .310 at the time with an .OPS of .828. Francoeur at the time? .277 and .793.
Both were enjoying renaissance years, but it would be Francoeur that would wake up the next morning and ink a two-year $13.5 million contract extension. We know how the next few chapters of the story unfolded, with Cabrera being traded to the San Francisco Giants, and currently hitting out of his mind at a .373/.417/.550 clip. His 51 hits in May are an all-time Giants franchise record. Manager Bruce Bochy is even bringing up comparisons to Tony Gwynn for Cabrera's recent play.
The Royals had their centerfielder though in Lorenzo Cain. He was going to provide defensive range we hadn't seen in Kansas City since Carlos Beltran. The fact is he was really quite good defensively in his short time before that one evening in Oakland where Cain met up with an outfield wall.
Ironically, the same series was the one where Francoeur was being greeted by the opposing outfield fans as almost a cult like hero. Chocolate covered bacon, anyone?
Now Francoeur is still hitting .280/.327/.450, but he's needed a recent hot streak at the plate to even approach where he was last season. But Frenchy was the good guy, fans and the media seem to love him. He's just a good guy.
But being labeled as a good guy doesn't mean contract extensions are a must.
Sure, we didn't know Wil Myers was going to get off the the great start that he has, but he also has a much higher ceiling than Lorenzo Cain has. The table was set for Cain, while Myers was given the Missouri state motto of "Show Me",
Well he certainly has shown as Myers clubbed his 17th home run of the minor league season on Thursday evening, and fourth since joining AAA Omaha. He's now batting .333/.390/.667 through his first 14 games with the Stormchasers, after hitting .343/.414/.731 in 35 games with AA Northwest Arkansas.
As the All-Star Game, and mid season approaches, the Royals are facing an interesting story that is developing. The 21-year old is starting to make some wonder if he isn't soon bound for a car ride down I-29 south to Kauffman Stadium.
The only ironic part is, Myers would be likely be playing in center, along side Francoeur. An outfield of Gordon, Myers, and Cabrera sure sounds great right about now.