Yes, there’s something more exciting this morning to consider than Cesar Izturis being traded to Pittsburgh.  Even more compelling than Joe Smith struggling last night against the Padres.  According to those quoted by the Journal News’ John Delcos, Julio Franco’s rep within the Shea clubhouse wasn’t quite all it was cracked up to be.

That Julio Franco found work with the Atlanta Braves isn’t surprising.What was surprising, however, were the lack of references, especially when it came to the “clubhouse leadership” issue.

Manager Willie Randolph said Franco should get more playing time with the Braves, and the reason he didn’t with the Mets was a .200 average.

“If you play, you have to produce. That clubhouse stuff is overrated,” said Randolph, who volunteered the information unsolicited.

Jose Valentin offered up that Franco was a less than eager participant in the club’s pregame stretching.

However, what irked some players was Franco wouldn’t hesitate to get in the face of some of the younger players about doing their jobs when he was hitting .200 with one homer with the Mets.

“To be a leader for me, it’s not enough to talk all the time,” Valentin said. “You have to go out and do it yourself.”

With all due respect to the parties involved, I’m not sure I’d like to meet an eager participant in the Mets’ pregame stretching.

Agent Matt Sosnick says his recently suspended client, Fish reliever Scott Olson, “psyches himself up so much that he loses track of the peripheral stuff around him.”  If only Tom Sizemore had that sort of defense.