The Rangers and Mets swapped players they no longer needed tonight, exchanging Jeff Francoeur and Joaquin Arias. Francoeur was no longer a fit in New York, and suggested this summer that he would welcome a trade. Last week, the Rangers designated Arias for assignment (to make room for former Met Alex Cora, of all people), so they weren't relying on him any more than the Mets relied on Francoeur.
About $897K remains on Francoeur's contract, but the Mets will pay most of that. The 26-year-old is hitting just .236/.293/.369 in 443 plate appearances, so he was a non-tender candidate on the Mets and remains one on the Rangers.
Like most right-handed hitters, Francoeur has markedly better numbers against left-handed pitching, both for his career (.820 OPS) and in 2010 (.767 OPS). David Murphy struggles against left-handers, so the Rangers needed a right-handed complement to Murphy, especially given Nelson Cruz's hamstring and Josh Hamilton's knee.
The Rangers acquired Arias as part of the 2004 Alfonso Soriano-Alex Rodriguez trade. Arias did have a solid 2008 campaign as a reserve for the Rangers, but this year he hit just .276/.290/.347 in 101 plate appearances so they no longer needed the 25-year-old.
ESPN's Adam Rubin first reported that the Rangers were considering Francoeur and Jon Heyman of SI.com reported (via Twitter) that the sides were actively discussing a deal involving Francoeur and Arias. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and others also reported on the deal via Twitter.