The Rockies have agreed in principle to terms with left-hander Jeff Francis. Francis is expected to make his 2012 debut with the Rockies on Saturday, when the Rockies host the Los Angeles Angles at Coors Field.
You may remember Francis as the Rockies first-round pick in 2002. Francis won Minor League Player of the Year by both Baseball America and USA Today. He was the first player in Colorado Rockies organizational history to win either of the awards. You May also remember Francis from the amazing 2007 World Series run where he went 17-9 with an ERA. of 4.22 in 215.1 innings.
His career hit a wall once shoulder injuries began to slow his progress. He missed the entire 2009 season due to injuries and couldn’t duplicate his success from 2006 and 2007. Francis struggled during the 2010 season and the Rockies declined to pick up the option on his contract after the season.
He spent all of last season with the Kansas City Royals, where he went 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts. He had been with the Cincinnati Reds, under a minor league contract this season, but opted out when he wasn’t added to the Reds’ roster, after he pitched a shut-out in his last start in AAA Louisville.
Sure, Jeff Francis is more than likely not going to come into the rotation and be the anchor, but the Rockies’ starting rotation is a mess and needs any help they can find. The Rockies have the worst pitching in the entire league, but what jumps out even more, is opposing teams are batting .293 against the Rockies. The recent release of Jamie Moyer, injuries to Juan Nicasio, Jeremy Guthrie, and Jhoulys Chacin have only added to the issues.
Understandably, Rockies fans may be asking, why bother bringing back a pitcher that the franchise gave up on? Just think about the last two games and how short each starting pitchers’ outing was. Francis has the ability to pitch deep into games. Sure, the same was said about Jeremy Guthrie when the trade was made to bring him to Colorado, but Guthrie hasn’t lived up to his end of the bargain.
Jeff Francis may not pitch as well as 2006 and 2007, but the rotation is in desperate need of some help.
Welcome back Jeff Francis.