Royals To Sign Jeff Francis

The Royals have agreed to sign Jeff Francis to a one-year deal, the team announced. ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick first reported the deal and adds that it's for $2MM guaranteed plus $2MM in incentives (Twitter link). The agreement with the Frontline client is pending a physical.

Francis drew interest from at least seven teams this offseason before agreeing to sign in Kansas City. The lefty logged 104 1/3 innings and posted a 5.00 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a healthy 46.8% ground ball rate last year. He missed the entire 2009 season as he recovered from shoulder surgery. 

Once the Royals dealt Zack Greinke, their need for starting pitching became even more apparent. Their internal rotation candidates include Kyle DaviesLuke HochevarSean O'SullivanVin Mazzaro and Zach Miner, but GM Dayton Moore needed more starting pitching depth. Kansas City expressed interest in Kevin Millwood earlier in the winter and the Scott Boras client remains unsigned.

With Francis off the board and Carl Pavano nearing an agreement to return to Minnesota, there are virtually no free agent groundballers remaining.

As MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows, the Royals have signed Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera, traded David DeJesus and Greinke away and made a number of minor deals since the offseason began.


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