Royals Outbid Mets for Jeff Francis

If you haven’t yet heard, the Kansas City Royals have signed lefthanded starter Jeff Francis to a one-year, $2M contract, plus incentives.

The deal was reportedly double what his former team, the Colorado Rockies, offered, and apparently more than the Mets offered. That is, assuming the Mets offered anything. But, we’ve heard many times from many sources for many months that the Mets were “interested” in Jeff Francis, so you would have to think that they made some kind of offer at some point. It would be awful to think that the Mets simply think about what players might help their club but never actually discuss terms with their agents.

So, we could safely assume that the Kansas City Royals outbid the Mets for Francis’ services. Is that depressing?

In all seriousness, if indeed the Mets made an offer to Francis, I’m surprised he chose to join the Royals. After posting a 5.00 ERA and looking lackluster in 2010, the crafty lefthander would seem to be looking at 2011 as an opportunity to increase his value for a big contract next winter. Generally speaking, crafty lefthanders don’t increase their value pitching in the Adulterated League — a baseball league that allows a Designated Pinch Hitter to bat for the pitcher. Usually, a soft-tossing lefty would try to avoid such a league, especially one that faces lineups such as those of the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers 18 times each (though, I guess it’s better than signing with the Orioles, and facing the AL East). One would think that someone pitching for his next payday would at minimum choose an NL team, and ideally go to one with a huge “pitchers’ park” such as San Diego or Flushing.

We mentioned Francis a few times before in the past few months, and my personal opinion was lukewarm. I don’t see him being anything better than a back-end starter at this point in his career, mainly because he wasn’t that tremendous before the shoulder surgery, and has lost some velocity since the surgery. So the fact that he signed with the Royals doesn’t bother me all that much; what bothers me is that it seems like Kansas City outbid the Mets, and it didn’t take much money to get Francis’ signature on a contract.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Rotoprofessor January 15, 2011 at 8:52 am
    To me, all the signing means is that the Mews preferred Chris Young over Jeff Francis, which isn’t very surprising considering the front offices ties to him. The “loss” here is really meaningless
    • Joe Janish January 16, 2011 at 12:11 am
      True. The only thing I see as a “loss” — if there is one — is that Francis is more likely to make 20+ starts than Young. On the flip side, Young is more likely to post an ERA under 4.00.
  2. murph January 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm
    If the Royals outbid the Mets it is because the Mets let it happen.
    $2M for a pitcher that has won 8 games in the last 3 years? I would have let him go too.
    • Joe Janish January 16, 2011 at 12:09 am
      Interesting angle, and you’re probably right. But does that mean the Mets prefer Chris Young because he won 13 games in 3 years?


      I found it mildly interesting that Francis didn’t sign with the Yankees. Though, that could be a combination of not wanting to pitch in the AL Beast, not getting a guaranteed spot in the rotation, and not wanting to pitch in pressure of the Big City. Surely the Yanks would have paid a similar fee, so there had to be other issues involved in the decision.

  3. Mic January 16, 2011 at 9:25 am
    Chris young would be the better option. Interesting that Justin d is still available.
    • Joe Janish January 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm
      Mic, I’m curious why you prefer Young to Francis – please elaborate.

      I think if Duchscherer doesn’t sign with Oakland or the Yankees, he’ll wind up in a small market like Pittsburgh or KC where he’s guaranteed to get the ball regularly and prove he’s healthy — much like Francis has done with KC.