Jeff Francis Rumors
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.
As players, coaches, and front office personnel begin to arrive in Florida and Arizona for Spring Training 2013, let's take a look at the news and notes from the National League:
- The Phillies were surprised Ben Revere was available and, in fact, it was the Twins who brought his name up in trade talks after dealing Denard Span to the Nationals, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Brookover.
- Within the same article, Brookover writes the struggles of Domonic Brown were one reason the Phillies were forced to alter their offseason blueprint. "We were hopeful that Domonic would lock down one of those corner outfield spots," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He did not do that. He still may do that...but we can't necessarily count on that to happen. Because of that, then we were kind of filling all three outfield positions."
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon provided additional contract details for some of the players the Reds have signed within the last month including right-hander Logan Ondrusek, who has more than two dozen different escalators, incentives, and bonuses written into the two-year deal he signed last month.
- Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio, and Jeff Francis are near locks for the first four slots in the Rockies' starting rotation leaving Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, Tyler Chatwood and Chris Volstad jockeying for the fifth spot, according to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post.
- MLB.com's Thomas Harding tweets the candidates for the Rockies' rotation change daily, but the final two spots could come down to Nicasio, Pomeranz, and Chatwood.
- Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, envisions the recently signed Chone Figgins in a Alfredo Amezaga-type role, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel. Amezaga played every position, except pitcher and catcher, during his four-year stint in Miami.
The Rockies have re-signed lefty Jeff Francis, the team announced (on Twitter). It's a one-year contract worth $1.5MM guaranteed with another $1.5M in incentives based on innings pitched. Francis is represented by Frontline.
Francis, 31, was drafted in the first round by the Rockies in 2002 and remained with the club through 2010. After a year and a half detour with the Royals and Reds, he rejoined the organization last June and pitched 113 innings in the Majors. Francis had decent peripheral stats but, as usual, allowed a ton of hits. Among starters with at least 100 innings in 2012, Francis' 85.3 mile per hour average fastball velocity ranked fifth-lowest. He ranks second in Rockies franchise history with 61 wins, behind Aaron Cook.
Francis probably has a claim on a rotation spot to begin the year with the 2013 Rockies, who have Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin penciled in. The team augmented their bullpen a few weeks ago, acquiring reliever Wilton Lopez from Houston.
- A trade is still the more likely means for Colorado to acquire starting pitching help, according to Renck. Teams are calling about Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer. Renck notes that the two years and $21MM remaining on Cuddyer's contract may be appealing to teams, given the inflated prices we've seen in this year's free agent market.
- The one-year deal signed by Jeff Francis last night will pay the southpaw somewhere north of $750K salary that he earned in 2012.
- Renck also writes that the team included Alex White in this week's Wilton Lopez trade because they no longer viewed White as a starter.
- Within that same piece, Renck reports that in trade talks prior to the Winter Meetings, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor and one of Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado in exchange for Fowler. Needless to say, the price on Colorado's center fielder remains high.
The Winter Meetings rumors continue to fly in, so let's round up another batch of them....
- The Rockies have told reps for free agents that they're attempting to acquire a pitcher via trade, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Colorado would also like to bring back Jeff Francis on a minor league deal, tweets Renck.
- Although he indicated last night that Emilio Bonifacio could be available, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets today that the Blue Jays don't want to move him, "at least not yet."
- Darren Oliver remains undecided about whether he'll play in 2013, and hasn't requested a trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Blue Jays have exercised their '13 team option on the left-hander.
- The Astros are planning to take two players in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- The Mariners remain in play for virtually every available hitter, tweets Knobler. Among their targets is Raul Ibanez, who the M's are "pushing" for, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Ibanez would prefer to rejoin the Yankees, but New York hasn't been as aggressive as Seattle, tweets Sherman.
- According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Yankees bid higher than the White Sox for Jeff Keppinger, but the utility infielder chose Chicago.
- In addition to Keppinger, the White Sox plan to bring in another infielder and a catcher, assuming A.J. Pierzynski leaves, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.
As they attempt to bolster a rotation that ranked among the worst in MLB this past season, the Rockies have expressed interest in numerous free agent starting pitchers, including right-hander Kevin Correia and left-hander Jeff Francis, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports. The Rockies aim to acquire a reliable arm capable of providing steady innings within a relatively young and inexperienced rotation.
Correia, 32, spent last season with the Pirates, mostly as a member of the Pittsburgh rotation. He posted a 4.21 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 171 innings. Correia, an All-Star in 2011, recently completed a two-year, $8MM contract with the Pirates. When I discussed the Rockies’ search for pitching last week, I suggested Correia would be worth considering.
Francis started 24 games for the Rockies in 2012, leading the team with 113 innings pitched. The 31-year-old posted a 5.58 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9, but he has had success at Coors Field in the past. He has indicated a desire to return to Colorado, Renck reports.
The Rockies have also been getting calls on Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer, though they aren’t looking to trade either outfielder. The Braves have called about Fowler, an Atlanta native, according to Renck.
The Tigers can tie the White Sox for the AL Central lead today, but it'll take a win over the Royals and some help from the Indians, who are visiting the south side of Chicago. Here are today's links...
- Athletics first-round selection Addison Russell tops Baseball America's list of the 20 best prospects from the rookie-level Arizona League. The A's selected the high school shortstop 11th overall, and he hit .415/.488/.717 in 26 games in the Arizona League before being promoted to Class A ball.
- Cody Ross has been a bargain acquisition in the past, but he’s likely headed for a raise as a free agent following a strong offensive showing with the Red Sox, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes. As Speier explains, Ross has been traded for next to nothing in the past.
- Kerry Wood will work with the Cubs next year, likely as an on-field instructor, Toni Ginnetti of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Wood, who retired in May, said he hopes to have some kind of role in uniform with the Cubs, ideally alongside some of his former teammates.
- The Rockies will enter the 2013 season with questions related to Todd Helton, Drew Pomeranz, Jim Tracy and others, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. The Rockies want to bring Jeff Francis back when he hits free agency this offseason, according to Saunders.
On Thursday, Troy Renck of the Denver Post opined that there are still no winners in the trade that brought Alex White and Drew Pomeranz to Colorado for Ubaldo Jimenez. White and Pomeranz have yet to break through with the Rockies while Jimenez has a 5.44 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in the last year-plus for Cleveland. Here's a look at Renck's latest on the Rockies, with all links going to Twitter..
- Left-hander Jeff Francis is expected to return to the Rockies next season after his contract is through, Renck tweets. The 31-year-old owns a 5.38 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 19 starts this season.
- Renck writes that Jim Tracy still being under contract for one more season could weigh into the club's decision on whether to retain him. The Rockies have struggled this season but have pitched better since Tracy was asked to install their new pitching program.
- The Rockies couldn't have gotten more than they did for Marco Scutaro back in July, sources told Renck. Colorado wanted out from under the money owed to the veteran and netted minor league second baseman Charlie Culberson in return.
"One of a GM's biggest tasks is to have the understanding and power to manage up (his ownership) as well as manage down (his manager)," said a GM to MLB.com's Peter Gammons (Twitter link). Here is the latest from around the league...
- Jason Isringhausen told reporters (including MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez) that he won't accept an assignment to Triple-A if he loses his roster spot when Jordan Walden returns from the DL (Twitter link). The 39-year-old has pitched to a 4.02 ERA in 40 1/3 innings for the Angels this year.
- A former Mets executive told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter) he believes the club will nontender Andres Torres in December. The 34-year-old, who is earning $2.7MM this year, is hitting .234/.343/.337 with two homers in 309 plate appearances.
- There are "strong indications" that the Rockies will make a push to re-sign Jeff Francis after the season, reports Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. The 31-year-old southpaw has pitched to a 6.07 ERA in 15 starts since returning to Colorado earlier this year.
- "Nothing happens quick in the off-season," said Brewers GM Doug Melvin to Todd Rosiak of The Journal Sentinel. "You wait until the GM meetings, the winter meetings. The only free agents that sign early are the ones who get overpaid ... We'll determine what level of involvement we'll have with free agents. I don't know that we'll be that heavily involved. I know the list that's out there."
- Hal McCoy of The Dayton Daily News argues that the Reds should pick up the team's $5MM club option for outfielder Ryan Ludwick next season. The 34-year-old has hit .271/.339/.568 with 23 homers for Cincinnati this season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up. Let's recap...
- Teams looking for rotation help should call the Diamondbacks about Joe Saunders. Arizona wants to get top prospect Trevor Bauer into their rotation, but right now there's just no room.
- The identity of the Padres' new owner will not be known before August, leaving the front office to make its own call on Carlos Quentin prior to the trade deadline. They could keep him and make him a qualifying offer after the season (entitling them to draft pick compensation), though they'd be gambling on future payroll before knowing the new owner's plans. The safest move could be trading the outfielder.
- The Cardinals will wait to hear more about Chris Carpenter's status before making a move for a veteran starting pitcher in the wake of Jaime Garcia's shoulder injury. St. Louis wanted Jeff Francis badly, but the timing wasn't right; Garcia appeared to be healthy when Francis hit the market.
- The Pirates have inquired about a number of corner infield bats, including Kevin Youkilis, Chase Headley, and Bryan LaHair. Some of those targets are more realistic than others, plus the trade market has yet to really materialize. There are far more buyers than sellers, though Pittsburgh has the pitching depth to swing a deal.