Jeff Francis Rumors

Yankees Designate Jeff Francis For Assignment

The Yankees announced that they have designated veteran lefty Jeff Francis for assignment and recalled outfielder Zoilo Almonte from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The 33-year-old Francis appeared in just two games for the Yanks, allowing a run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings of work. In total this season between New York, Cincinnati and Oakland, he’s posted a 5.85 ERA with a strong 15-to-3 K/BB ratio.


Yankees Acquire Jeff Francis

1:50pm: The A’s have now released a correction that lines up with the Yankees’ announcement (hat tip: MLB.com’s Jane Lee). Francis and cash considerations are indeed heading to the Yankees for a player to be named later.

1:17pm: The Yankees, however, have announced that they will be receiving Francis and cash considerations in exchange for a player to be named later. The discrepancy is puzzling, but it appears Oakland could be receiving what would likely be a marginal player to be named later in the deal.

1:03pm: The A’s have announced the trade of Francis to the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations.

12:39pm: The Yankees have acquired veteran lefty Jeff Francis from the A’s, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Francis was designated for assignment last week.

Francis, 33, has pitched 18 1/3 innings this season for the A’s and Reds, allowing 12 runs (5.89 ERA) with a 14-to-3 K/BB ratio. Formerly the ninth overall pick in the draft (2002), it’s been awhile since Francis enjoyed success as a member of a big league rotation. He posted a 4.19 ERA in 414 1/3 for the 2006-07 Rockies — no small feat in Coors Field, as evidenced by his park-adjusted 116 ERA+ — but it’s been a struggle since that time for the Canadian hurler. Francis owns a 5.22 ERA in 632 2/3 innings since that time.

The Yankees are undoubtedly on the lookout for pitching depth with yesterday’s news that Masahiro Tanaka has a slight tear in his right elbow’s ulnar collateral ligament. Francis has pitched well over the past three seasons in Triple-A, registering a 3.75 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 163 1/3 innings between the Reds and Rockies organizations.


Athletics Designate Jeff Francis For Assignment

The A’s announced (on Twitter) that they have designated left-hander Jeff Francis for assignment and activated fellow lefty Eric O’Flaherty from the disabled list.

The 33-year-old Francis appeared in nine games for the A’s (all relief appearances) and yielded nine runs in 13 1/3 total innings with a 10-to-3 K/BB ratio. The longtime Rockies hurler began the year with the Reds but was claimed off waivers by Oakland back in May. Once a mainstay in Colorado’s rotation, Francis has seen his stock drop since his peak years in 2006-07. The former No. 9 overall pick in the draft has a career 4.95 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 44.6 percent ground-ball rate in 1267 1/3 innings.

O’Flaherty will be making his first appearance on Oakland’s active roster after signing a two-year, $7MM contract with the A’s this offseason. The former Brave underwent Tommy John surgery last year and has been on the shelf all season as he recovers. When healthy, O’Flaherty was one of the National League’s best setup men, posting a 1.99 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 249 1/3 innings from 2009-13. He’s lethal against opposing lefties and has typically been solid against right-handed hitters as well, so he will make a nice addition to Oakland’s relief corps.



Athletics Claim Jeff Francis Off Waivers From Reds

3:39pm: Savery will be optioned to Triple-A rather than simply being placed on paternity leave, tweets Slusser, with the idea of utilizing Francis as a long man.

2:47pm: The Athletics have claimed lefty Jeff Francis off waivers from the Reds, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). Francis had been designated for assignment on Friday.

Francis, 33, got just one start with Cincinnati before he hit the wire, allowing three earned over five innings. He had been working effectively at Triple-A, tossing 48 2/3 frames with a 3.33 ERA, supported by a solid 8.3 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.

As Slusser explains, the A’s will place recently-promoted southpaw Joe Savery on paternity leave. Francis will take his place on the active roster, though the club’s plans from that point forward remain unclear.


Reds Designate Jeff Francis For Assignment

The Reds have designated lefty Jeff Francis for assignment, according to the MLB transactions page. Francis, 33, has seen action in ten MLB campaigns.

Francis was called up to start yesterday for Cincinnati and gave up three earned runs through five innings. He had been signed to a minor league deal over the offseason, and was successful at Triple-A. In eight starts, Francis logged 48 2/3 innings of 3.33 ERA ball with 8.3 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9. Over 1,254 career big league frames, most of them as a starter for the Rockies, Francis has a lifetime 4.94 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.


Reds To Sign Jeff Francis, Thomas Neal

4:38pm: The Reds have also signed Thomas Neal, the outfielder tweeted himself. Neal, 26, spent the 2013 season in the Cubs and Yankees organizations. He batted .325/.391/.411 in 297 Triple-A plate appearances and collected two hits and a walk in 17 Major League PAs. Neal is represented by Jeff Berry of CAA Sports.

3:08pm: The Reds have agreed to a minor league deal with southpaw Jeff Francis, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter). Francis is represented by Frontline Athlete Management. His deal includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

This will be Francis' second stint with the Reds, as he also inked a minor league pact with Cincinnati prior to the 2012 season. Francis exercised an opt-out clause in June that year and has spent the past season-and-a-half with the Rockies — the team that originally selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2002 draft. In that time, Francis has pitched to a 5.84 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 48.9 percent ground-ball rate.

Francis is the second starter with notable big league experience that the Reds have brought in on a minor league deal this offseason. Cincinnati also inked right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training.


Rockies Waive Volstad; Promote Oswalt

The Rockies have placed Chris Volstad on waivers, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The move creates a 40-man roster spot for Roy Oswalt, who will be promoted and start tonight for Colorado. Jeff Francis has accepted a minor league assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs, which clears a 25-man roster spot for Oswalt. We learned yesterday that Francis would be removed from the 25-man roster, but it wasn't clear whether he would accept a trip to the minors or be designated for assignment.

Volstad, 26, appeared in six games for the Rockies this season and allowed 10 runs in 8 1/3 innings with three strikeouts and one walk. In 10 games (nine starts) for Colorado Springs this season, Volstad has a 4.79 ERA with 3.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9.

Oswalt, 35, has pitched briliantly for Double-A Tulsa since signing with the Rockies in May. In five starts (33 1/3 innings), the longtime Astro has a 2.16 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. Last week I examined how much Oswalt would earn based on the incentives in his contract if he were promoted this week. Given the date, it's likely that he could earn nearly $4.3MM if he stays healthy and pitches well.

Francis, 32, re-signed with the Rockies on a one-year deal with a $1.5MM base salary and another $1.5MM worth of incentives. In 52 innings this season, he's posted a 6.58 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. The strikeout rate is actually the highest of Francis' career, as is his 50.3 percent ground-ball rate. He's been hurt by a homer-to-flyball ratio (20.4 percent) that's nearly double that of his career mark.


Rockies To Remove Francis From Roster; Promote Oswalt

While the precise roster move to be made remains unknown, starter Jeff Francis will be removed from the Rockies' active roster tomorrow, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The team will promote Roy Oswalt to start tomorrow's game at Washington.

As Renck explains, the club could seek to option Francis, but would need the veteran's consent to do so. Of course, a 40-man roster spot would presumably still need to be cleared under that scenario to make way for Oswalt. Otherwise, Colorado could designate Francis for assignment. Either way, says Renck, the lefty has had his locker cleared out and will not accompany the team to D.C.

Francis, 32, re-signed with the Rockies on a one-year deal with a $1.5MM base salary and another $1.5MM worth of incentives. In 52 innings this season, he's posted a 6.58 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. The strikeout rate is actually the highest of Francis' career, as is his 50.3 percent ground-ball rate. He's been hurt by a homer-to-flyball ratio (20.4 percent) that's nearly double that of his career mark.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Alburquerque, Wada, Francis

Tigers pitcher Al Alburquerque has changed agencies from ACES to Beverly Hills Sports Council, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets. Major League Baseball investigates ACES' possible ties to the Biogenesis scandal. Alburquerque has pitched 71 innings in his big-league career, posting a 1.90 ERA with 16.3 K/9 and 8.2 BB/9. He has 14 1/3 innings pitched for the Tigers this year. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • MLB's latest PED scandal could impact pennant races and the trading deadline, says ESPN.com's Jim Bowden (Insider-only). Teams don't know the identities of all the players in the Biogenesis scandal and who might be suspended as a result, Bowden writes, and that could make it difficult for GMs as they head down the stretch. Melky Cabrera's abrupt departure from the Giants last August — after the trading deadline — is the sort of scenario that might be faced by some GMs, who will have a hard time preparing for suspensions they might not be sure are coming. The Giants, of course, won the World Series even without Cabrera, but they didn't have one of their most productive hitters in the final six weeks of the regular season. This year, the Rangers, for example, will have to consider their backup plan in case Nelson Cruz, who has been named in the scandal, is suspended.
  • The list of sellers at this year's trade deadline could be large, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Rosenthal's list of potential sellers includes three teams that entered the season with lofty aspirations (the Dodgers, Angels and Blue Jays), along with the Astros, Marlins, Phillies, Padres, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Royals, Mariners and Mets. That's a very long list, which suggests that it might be a buyer's market at the deadline. Rosenthal says, however, that some of those teams (the Angels, Blue Jays, Phillies and Royals, in particular) might not actually sell, even though some of their records right now might dictate that they would.
  • Tsuyoshi Wada of the Orioles could agree to remain in the minor leagues once his rehab stint is over, reports MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko. Wada has not pitched well for Triple-A Norfolk, posting a 5.87 ERA in 23 innings, and after having elbow surgery, he has yet to make his big-league debut despite being in the second year of a two-year, $8.15MM deal. That deal hasn't worked out well, but Kubatko quotes a scout who says it made sense at the time. "[Wada] was worth the gamble. When he came in, (Miguel) Gonzalez wasn't there, (Wei-Yin) Chen wasn't established, (Jason) Hammel wasn't there yet. So he was worth the gamble. And it wasn't a lot of money."
  • Jeff Francis will likely start on Saturday for the Rockies, but his future with the organization is in question, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. "I think I can help this team, and I think I can do a lot of things," says Francis. "But I know that the reality of baseball is that if you don’t do them enough, then your time runs out." Francis had posted a 6.00 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 before landing on the disabled list with a strained groin. Tyler Chatwood, who Francis will replace on Saturday, will still have his rotation spot when he returns from a sore triceps, and Roy Oswalt, currently at Double-A Tulsa, is slated to join the big-league team shortly.

NL Notes: Pence, Rockies, Lutz

Hunter Pence felt guilty after being traded from the Phillies to the Giants last season, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports. "To be honest with you, I felt really guilty," says Pence. "I was heavily invested in bringing the Phillies back, and it felt like… I felt guilty. I felt like it was my fault that it fell apart." Pence hit .271/.336/.447 for the Phillies in 2012, and the team was 45-56 when it dealt Pence near the end of July. Here are more notes from around the National League.

  • The Rockies are off to a surprising start, but Jeff Francis and Juan Nicasio haven't been positive parts of it, and it remains to be seen how long they'll be in the rotation, the Denver Post's Troy Renck writes. Francis has a 7.27 ERA thus far, and Nicasio has only lasted longer than five innings once this season.
  • The Rockies might have payroll flexibility to take on salary in a trade for a starter at midseason, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. But that payroll flexibility will be tied to increased revenue, a club official says.
  • Outfielder Donald Lutz of the Reds, who made his big-league debut last week, is likely the first German-raised player in MLB history, says Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Lutz was born in the U.S., and his father is American, but his mother is German, and Lutz moved to Germany as a baby. Morosi points out that Germany lags behind the Netherlands and Italy in its development of baseball players, but that could easily change, since Germany is so populous.