Frank Francisco made his season debut with the Mets yesterday, pitching two-thirds of an inning and issuing a walk in a scoreless appearance. A free agent at season's end, Francisco may not even close out the year with the Mets, as one team official told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that it's "certainly possible" that the Mets will trade Francisco soon.
According to Rubin, the Mets weren't pleased with what they perceived to be a lack of urgency on Francisco's part to get back to the Major Leagues. Francisco is earning $6.5MM in the second season of a two-year, $12MM contract he signed to be the team's closer. He's been disappointing in New York, to say the least, having pitched to a 5.44 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in just 43 innings of work. Since joining the Mets, Francisco has missed time due to an oblique strain, right elbow tendonitis and recovery from surgery to remove bone spurs from that same elbow.
Interested parties could look at Francisco's track record and hope that he's a low-cost upgrade if he's back to full health. Prior to signing with the Mets, Francisco had compiled a 3.54 ERA with 10.5 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 49 saves from 2008-11. He also dominated on his minor league rehab assignment, yielding just one run on eight hits and three walks with 14 strikeouts over 12 innings across three levels.
The Mets would be happy to simply receive some relief on the $746K remaining on his salary, writes Rubin. Of course, an acquiring team wouldn't be able to include Francisco on its postseason roster, but he could still play a role in helping a team get to the playoffs. Such acquisitions aren't particularly common, but the situation wouldn't be too dissimilar from the Rockies' 2010 acquisition of Octavio Dotel. Rubin speculates that the Yankees could be a fit for Francisco.