Jeff Francis (former Rockies ace) today exercised a clause in his contract and opted out of his minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds. Tracy Ringolsby of Root Sports Rocky Mountain suggested on Twitter that the Rockies bring him back as a free agent. I couldn't disagree with him more on this assessment.
OK, let's be realistic here. The last full season Francis pitched for the Rockies he went 6-16 in 2008. Albeit he had a bum pitching shoulder which forced a shoulder reconstruction and for him to miss the entire 2009 season. He then went to the Royals where he won like, 4 games? The thing to remember with Francis is that he throws a fastball now somewhere in the 84-86 mph range. With the Reds AAA affiliate he went 3-6 but did average 9.2k/9 innings and only 1.8bb/9 innings. These last two stats are compelling but not the win/loss record. But there are still two major problems:
1) 3-6 record in AAA, not MLB. I shudder to think what his MLB record would be.
2) Remember Jamie Moyer? The other soft-tossing lefty that the club just designated for assignment?
As was pointed out by Eric Brown on Twitter (@EB68 - follow him please)the Rockies have zero need for another soft-tossing lefty. I have no problem with Jeff Francis getting another shot with a big league club. But if the Rockies have any sense - and this year so far has proven - there is no common sense with management. It would be another step back for this pitching staff to bring back Jeff Francis. He would add some much needed experience but no value. His stuff is not good enough for Coors Field anymore. Once they make the adjustment major league hitters just feast on 86mph fastballs.
I'm hoping the Rockies stick with the status quo. Alex White was terrific yesterday. Juan Nicasio is due for some much needed luck when he comes back from the DL. Time and experience will benefit Christian Friedrich, Carlos Torres and Guillermo Moscoso. Take note Dan O'Dowd - do not make yet another mistake and sign Jeff Francis.