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Mariners, Reds, Blue Jays and Mets among teams interested in Jeff Francis

Jan 20, 2012, 10:58 PM EDT

Jeff Francis Getty Getty Images

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, free agent left-hander Jeff Francis is beginning to attract more interest from teams in the market for a starting pitcher. The Mariners, Reds, Blue Jays and Mets are among the teams believed to be in the mix.

Francis, who turned 31 earlier this month, went 6-16 with the Royals last season while posting a 4.82 ERA and 91/39 K/BB ratio over 183 innings.

Francis has never thrown particularly hard to begin with, but after averaging 87.1 mph on his fastball in 2010 following shoulder surgery, he averaged a career-low 84.7 mph last season. Among qualified starters, only R.A. Dickey and Livan Hernandez had less velocity on their fastball in 2011. On the bright side, Francis averaged 1.9 BB/9 and induced ground balls 47 percent of the time for the second straight season. He could do well as a fifth starter in the right environment.

  1. cur68 - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Kaufman’s big (19th or 20th in HR, I think). Skydome’s small (4th!). Francis will get lit up like Jim Leyland’s personal nicotine. Pass, please.

    • D.J. Short - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      Mariners would make the most sense. Safeco is a good fit for a soft-tossing lefty.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 21, 2012 at 7:43 AM

      The Jays never leak who they are interested in. The part of the story that mentions the Jays is false.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 21, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        Proudly knows this for a fact because he works in the Jays front office

  2. mmason0071 - Jan 21, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    Don’t know why the Mariner’s would be interested in a guy like this with all the young pitching talent they have coming up, but Jack Z really seems to like these lobbing lefties. He has signed and then dumped a half dozen in the last 2 years. Only Vargas turned out to be worth anything.

    • Reflex - Jan 21, 2012 at 2:55 AM

      Thats the thing, much like San Diego, Safeco is a great place for a comeback pitcher to prove themself. From Jack Z’s point of view, it permits the pitcher to build up value, then he can flip them to a contender for a prospect that will help the M’s later.

      Win-Win situation.

  3. missthemexpos - Jan 21, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Seriously, the Blue Jays are believed to be in the mix. Wow, I can only think that somebody figured that hey, Jeff Francis is Canadian, so the Jays have to be interested. If Toronto wants home grown talent, I would rather see a first baseman presently plying his trade with Cincinnati in a Blue Jay uniform.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 21, 2012 at 7:54 AM

      I am sure that they have asked about his availability many times. I believe that he has 2 years left on his contract; with a bump up to $19 million in the final year.

  4. Old Gator - Jan 21, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    One would as like sign with the Mutts this season as book passage on the Titanic with 20-20 hindsight.

  5. metalhead65 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    he has the washed up part the reds and walt are looking for but I don’t think he ever played for the cardinals so that would leave them out.

  6. bleed4philly - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    He should sign with Seattle and be the new Moyer.

  7. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 21, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    I hope the jays sign this guy, he will be a batting practice pitcher in the AL East

  8. concernedcitizen001 - Jan 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    As a Reds fan, “Please, not another underwhelming, soft throwing ‘starting’ pitcher.”

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