Francis Chooses Royals Over Other Suitors

Jeff Francis says he drew interest from "a bunch" of teams this offseason before agreeing to sign in Kansas City. His suitors reportedly included the Yankees and Rockies, but Francis chose the Royals instead of a team with a legitimate chance to contend in 2011.

As he explained on a conference call with reporters this afternoon, the left-hander chose the Royals because they offered him the opportunity to start and boast the game's most impressive collection of minor league prospects.

"From everything I've been able to learn, they certainly have the talent available," Francis said, comparing the current group of Royals prospects to the young Rockies players who made it to the 2007 World Series. "I've seen [a quick turnaround] happen before and I know it can be done."

Francis turned 30 over the weekend, but it wasn't long ago that he was a top prospect like current Royals lefties Mike Montgomery, John Lamb, Danny Duffy and Chris Dwyer. Though he doesn't consider himself much of a mentor yet, Francis knows what it's like to be a top prospect. As the 9th overall pick of the 2002 draft, Francis arrived in Colorado with lots of fanfare.

He leaves the Rockies – the only franchise he has ever known – for the American League. Francis says there could be an adjustment period and that he expects to succeed as long as he throws strikes, keeps hitters off-balance and stays healthy.

Injuries have been a problem throughout Francis' six-year big league career, but he says his left shoulder has been "feeling really good" and that he expects to be ready for Spring Training next month. The left-hander spent the entire 2009 season recovering from shoulder surgery and says he experienced some soreness again at the end of the 2010 campaign.


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42 Comments on "Francis Chooses Royals Over Other Suitors"


$1529282
4 years 6 months ago

Not sure how much good that talent does when you’re on a one-year deal, unless they extend him midseason or something. But realistically, a trade is the more likely outcome.

I guess that’s not so bad for a pitcher looking to re-establish value though. If you pitch well you’re either in line for an extension with a team that’s got a very deep minor league system, or you’re in line to be flipped to a contending team in 2011.

bannister19
4 years 6 months ago

A trade is the likely outcome in all of these royal signings, including Frenchy and Melky.

Just like Ankiel and Podsednick last year. If we a see a glimpse of any of the three of them, and can still retain them for cheap, we might do that (i.e. Wilson Betemit)

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 6 months ago

I don’t understand anything he said. Just seems to me he wants to be in a small market.

4 years 6 months ago

He wants to re-establish his value. But he also cannot just tell the local media: “yeah, I figured I could come here for the first half of the year on my way to a contender and then a bigger off-season payday.” That’s just not going to be a part of the conversation.

The_Silver_Stacker
4 years 6 months ago

Still I would have to question his desire to win, because if he has another down year than he has zero chance to go to a contender.

tony_mciv
4 years 6 months ago

Would I want Jeff Francis mentoring me or Cole Hamels…They both came up around the same time right?
Good Luck KC.

4 years 6 months ago

Huh? What does Cole Hamels have to do with anything?

tony_mciv
4 years 6 months ago

They came up around the same time? Cole Hamels is the only other left handed pitcher that comes to mind from that draft.

michaelseeley
4 years 6 months ago

Yeah, but Cole Hamels wasn’t exactly available, either.

tony_mciv
4 years 6 months ago

That wasn’t my point but okay. Makes enough sense.

4 years 6 months ago

That’s what I meant. Just because Hamels was a lefty out of the same draft doens’t make mentioning his name germane to the conversation. It wasn’t like the Royals were making a choice between Jeff Francis and Cole Hamels.

Koby2
4 years 6 months ago

What was your point then? That Cole Hamels is better than Jeff Francis? I doubt many would disagree, but that has no bearing on this signing.

tony_mciv
4 years 6 months ago

“Though he doesn’t consider himself much of a mentor yet, Francis knows what it’s like to be a top prospect. As the 9th overall pick of the 2002 draft, Francis arrived in Colorado with lots of fanfare.”
I immediately thought about Hamels. I was just commenting that I’d rather have Cole Hamels mentor me then Jeff Francis.

MoCrash
4 years 6 months ago

I guess the question that comes to mind is whether Cole Hamels was available for the Royals. He was not, of course, making any comparison moot.

Francis is a solid pro who, if nothing else, will eat up innings while the Royals’ prospects mature. It’s not likely, nor expected, that he’ll be the staff leader of the coming generation while it comes of age — and the odds suggest that he will not re-capture the high promise of his younger, pre-injury self –but he’s a good transitional SP. If he can fetch more prospects during the summer, that’s fine, although the best-case scenario for the Royals is that he’s injury-free; Francis’ actual peformance is of less concern.

Scooter8080
4 years 6 months ago

He also said a big factor was getting to reunite with Royals pitching coach Bob McClure. They were together in the Colorado system and Francis said he had a big impact on his development. He seems to trust McClure to be able to help him rebuild some value.

4 years 6 months ago

Depending on who sees the most time at 1B/DH between Butler and Kila, Francis might actually be playing in front of a Plus overall defense in a Big ‘ol ballpark. We’ll have to wait and see, but this may have been a shrewd decision by Francis to sign with the Royals.

4 years 6 months ago

Translation: The money was about the same and I won’t get boo’d for sucking.

bannister19
4 years 6 months ago

We still boo.

twentyfivemanroster
4 years 6 months ago

Agreed! Just ask Royals favorite Mike Sweeney.

bannister19
4 years 6 months ago

We still boo.

brstreet9
4 years 6 months ago

I am guessing Francis is going to be the opening day starter? Or Hochevar?

michaelseeley
4 years 6 months ago

Probably still Hoch. I doubt they start Francis, since he’s only on a one year deal and about the same level of talent. Hoch is expected to be here a couple more years, sadly…

brstreet9
4 years 6 months ago

Just made me wonder, since they really don’t have much starting pitching to choose from. Probably not quite as bad as 2006 (when Redman was the lone All-Star rep), but still pretty bad.

brstreet9
4 years 6 months ago

Just made me wonder, since they really don’t have much starting pitching to choose from. Probably not quite as bad as 2006 (when Redman was the lone All-Star rep), but still pretty bad.

MoCrash
4 years 6 months ago

Hate to see that, michael, because I think Hochevar has some potential. He had won three of his last five starts, and even pitched well (after the Minnesota debacle on his first game back) after he returned in September. The Royals weren’t going to stretch him, though. He’s shown some progress, and now — with Greinke gone — he’s said he recognizes that more is expected from him and he’s going to work to perform to that level. Who knows if he can, but at 27 is hardly washed up. Hochevar as a possible No. 3 or 4 starter when the kids arrive could be part of a solid rotation. It may not be what one expects of a 1st-round draft pick, but teams like the Royals can’t easily discard useful players simply because they’re not exceptional.

If he’s healthy, though, Meche will start opening day.

twentyfivemanroster
4 years 6 months ago

I actually think that Hochevar will be much improved in 2011. With the potential of having a decent defensively infield and his career 48.7% groundball rating, could and should allow him a decent season.

jhawk90
4 years 6 months ago

There’s still 12 million reasons to start Meche but he’ll be on the DL before opening day after tripping on an ant.

Koby2
4 years 6 months ago

He’s a $12 million reliever now, due to the arm injuries he’s had. If he gets surgery, he could start again…or never pitch again.

bannister19
4 years 6 months ago

If Meche is healthy, he’ll start opening day. But he’s a coin toss at any given day.
I’d start Francis over Luke.

progmatinee
4 years 6 months ago

As a Rockies and Francis fan, I’m disappointed in Jeff. Seems like he took the easy path. No pressure. Seems like a lack of self confidence to shy away from contenders.

Dollar Seats
4 years 6 months ago

He expects the Royals to start competeing in 2012 or 2013. I think there is something admirable about bringing his veteran presence to help a young team come from behind. That and he has to have a comeback year. I think KC will be a great place for staging that.

4 years 6 months ago

I would submit that it’s plenty pressure-packed to pitch in front of a team that isn’t going to score you any runs. The pressure to be perfect.

bannister19
4 years 6 months ago

What good would it do to his career to face the Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays 54 times?
Obviously, not himself 54 times, but it’s just not a smart choice.
He obviously didn’t care about contending right now. Not everyone does.

Gotta look at it from the longterm. Don’t listen to the Milwuakee Brewers.

michaelseeley
4 years 6 months ago

Or maybe he wanted a chance to start. Which contender is going to offer him that?? If he comes here and pitches well, he’ll get flipped to a contender anyway.

coolstorybro222
4 years 6 months ago

I respect he just wants to play the game, not just sign somewhere for a big contract.

tonyyanksfan
4 years 6 months ago

Why do you think the Royals didn’t offer him the most money? I doubt the Yankees or Rockies offered more than a minimum dollar deal or possibly even just a spring training invite.

bannister19
4 years 6 months ago

I think he got a fair contract that he could’ve had most places. Not sure if he would’ve had any more anywhere else though.

MoCrash
4 years 6 months ago

This deal won’t hurt the Royals or Francis. He gets an opportunity to re-establish market value and the Royals get an experienced SP who — if healthy — can eat up innings without getting shelled (and about half the time in a far more pitcher-friendly ball park than Coors Field). Francis won’t be in KC long, unless he’s got nothing left (I doubt that’s the case), but he won’t bring a lot of negativity and baggage into a young clubhouse where there’s no strong, established leadership (I don’t think Francis will be a team leader, per se — and he obviously doesn’t see that as his role — but if goes about his business as a pro he can set a good example).

This is a smart sign, for all concerned.

MoCrash
4 years 6 months ago

This deal won’t hurt the Royals or Francis. He gets an opportunity to re-establish market value and the Royals get an experienced SP who — if healthy — can eat up innings without getting shelled (and about half the time in a far more pitcher-friendly ball park than Coors Field). Francis won’t be in KC long, unless he’s got nothing left (I doubt that’s the case), but he won’t bring a lot of negativity and baggage into a young clubhouse where there’s no strong, established leadership (I don’t think Francis will be a team leader, per se — and he obviously doesn’t see that as his role — but if goes about his business as a pro he can set a good example).

This is a smart sign, for all concerned.

KeithLawSucksInStl
4 years 6 months ago

“From everything I’ve been able to learn, they certainly have the talent available”

He’s gotta be brain dead from all that Colorado altitude and ganja.

twentyfivemanroster
4 years 6 months ago

What!? Maybe you are brain dead. The Royals minor leagues are said to be the best in recent memory. Do you read or know baseball?

riffwaffle
4 years 6 months ago

i have a feeling he’ll do very good,not great.If i were him i would have challanged myself and go to a contender no matter how good their young prospects are or going to be,theyll be a good team in two years.