Jeff Francis Rumors
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.
FRIDAY: The sides agreed to a Major League deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
WEDNESDAY: It appears that left-hander Jeff Francis has an agreement in principle with the Rockies, sources tell Troy Renck of The Denver Post (via Twitter). Renck adds that he expects the veteran to start this weekend.
If Francis does indeed sign with the Rockies, he'll return to where he pitched from 2004-10. Francis owned a 4.22 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 215 1/3 innings for the Rockies in 2007.
The Reds released Francis earlier this week after he opted out of his contract. The 31-year-old posted a 3.72 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 77 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville.
Ten years ago this month the Rockies made Jeff Francis the ninth overall selection in the 2002 draft. Now general manager Dan O'Dowd has interest in signing the left-hander as a free agent, Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports.
"We are interested; I have no idea of the outcome of that interest," O’Dowd said.
The Reds released Francis this morning after he opted out of his contract. He posted a 3.72 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 77 1/3 innings at Triple-A before being granted his release. He could re-sign in Cincinnati if he doesn’t obtain a Major League deal elsewhere, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes (on Twitter).
Francis, 31, pitched for the Rockies from 2004-10. He posted a 4.22 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 215 1/3 innings for the 2007 team that won the National League pennant.
Francis, 31, pitched to a 3.72 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 77 1/3 innings across 12 starts for Cincinnati's Triple-A affiliate. He threw a nine-inning complete game shutout just last night. Given his solid performance in the minors and the demand for pitching, Francis could wind up signing a Major League contract and join a team's rotation in short order.
Wednesday night linkage..
- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said that it will be "miraculous" if he and the club come to terms on a new deal before Opening Day, writes Drew Davidson of the Star-Telegram.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com that while the club is making progress in multi-year contract talks with Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto, nothing is imminent.
- Pitcher Jeff Francis has decided not to exercise his opt-out clause with the Reds, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Francis told the club that he'd be willing to go to Triple-A and start.
- The Rays are a thorn in the side for people those who contend that teams with limited budgets can't win, writes Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Tampa Bay is bumping up their payroll this year in an effort to spark attendance and revenue at Tropicana Field.
- After spending just one day in major league camp, it looks like Xavier Nady may have a chance to crack the Nationals’ roster, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. One spot is up for grabs between Nady and Jason Michaels, who has an out clause. The out clause may actually work against him as the player that the Nats choose will likely be sent to the minors once Michael Morse returns.
Lance Berkman told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that he thinks Bud Selig extorted new Astros owner Jim Crane into moving the team to the AL next season. "I think that's exactly what it was," said the former 'Stro. "To tell [Crane], 'We're going to hold the sale of the team up until you guys agreed to switch?' It just happened that the Astros were being sold at an optimal time for that to happen."
Conspiracy theories aside, here's the latest from around the league...
- Jeff Francis can opt out of his minor league contract with the Reds on March 28th, but he told reporters (including John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer) that he will report to Triple-A if he doesn't make the team.
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki hears that the Phillies have been looking for infield help lately, but no one seems to be a clear upgrade over Freddy Galvis. The Phightin's lost utility man Michael Martinez due to a broken bone in his foot today.
- Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com wrote about all of the Athletics roster turnover. "You do know your time is limited here," said Brandon McCarthy. "You're not looking to put down roots."
- Joe Torre is waiting to see what happens with the Dodgers' ownership situation before returning to his old job at MLB, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Torre's group bowed out of the bidding because of the parking situation at Dodger Stadium.
- “I think that we as a franchise have a chance to go through sort of an evolutionary process to get us back to where we want to be,” said Mets GM Sandy Alderson to Andrew Keh of The New York Times in the wake of the team's recent financial moves. "From just an overall, organization standpoint, the landscape today is a lot brighter than it was two or three days ago, going into a potential three-week trial."
Let's continue our tour of the divisions with news from the NL Central...
- "The Reds’ handling of Aroldis Chapman is beginning to resemble Joba Chamberlain 2.0," writes Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. Cincinnati is leaning towards using Chapman as a reliever this season but Passan argues that a pitcher with Chapman's potential should be given the chance to start and not worry about being shuttled between the rotation and the bullpen. Another note from the piece is that Chapman's velocity is down to the 92-95 mph range this spring, but Chapman has been pleased with his improved command and his new pitch, a splitter.
- Like Chapman, Jeff Francis has pitched well this spring but may not find a spot in the Reds rotation, prompting ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) to consider Francis an "affordable alternative for teams in the John Lannan hunt." Francis signed a minor league deal with the Reds that contains an opt-out clause for March 28 that he could exercise if he doesn't think he'll find a job in Cincinnati. (In regards to Lannan, he could be off the trade market altogether given Chien-Ming Wang's hamstring injury today.)
- Nick Punto told reporters (including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) that his top two offseason options were the Cardinals and Red Sox, but the Cards never made him a contract offer.
- Astros minor leaguer Angel Heredia has been suspended for 50 games following a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, reports The Associated Press. Heredia, a right-handed pitcher, played for Houston's Dominican Summer League team.