Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of days, you know that Jeff Francis agreed to one year contract with the Kansas City Royals. The Rox – and their fans – would’ve welcomed Francis back with open arms, but they couldn’t guarantee him a spot in the starting rotation. With the Royals, Jeff will get a chance to start every fifth game and will reunite with long-time Rockies’ minor league pitching coach Bob McClure. Oh, and he’ll get a couple million to boot.
In Kansas City, Jeff hopes to resurrect his career. He missed much of 2008 and all of 2009 with a shoulder injury, before returning in 2010 to make 19 starts. Francis once carried the Rockies’ pitching staff. In 2007, he finished ninth in the Cy Young race and started Game 1 of the World Series. Purportedly, the Rockies made an offer to Francis, but wanted him back as a reliever.
Despite Jeff’s struggles over the last three seasons, it is sad to see him go. He was the Rockies’ top draft pick in 2002 and debuted with the big club in 2004. He made at least 30 starts in each of the next three seasons before his disastrous 2008 season. It’s great to see Francis get an opportunity, even if it is with the Royals. Hopefully Jeff can bounce back.