Jeff Francis expected to pick a team within the next few days

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Jeff Francis fever is sweeping the hot stove.  Or whatever.

According to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, the left-hander is expected to decide between offers from the Rockies, Mets, Brewers, Pirates and Nationals within the next couple of days.

Francis missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing major shoulder surgery just before spring training and posted an unremarkable 5.00 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 20 appearances (19 starts) in 2010.

But most of Francis’ struggles this year can be attributed to rust and the southpaw’s ongoing recovery from that February 2009 shoulder procedure.  He looked far better in the second half of the season and he actually managed a four-year high on the average velocity of his fastball, clocking in at 87.2 MPH.

On a one-year deal with some incentives thrown in, he should make a fine innings-eater in 2011.

Report: Brewers have made formal contract offer to Yu Darvish

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Yahoo Japan reported on Sunday (Monday there) that the Brewers have made a formal contract offer to free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has confirmed Yahoo Japan’s report. The length of the offered contract and the value are not known at the moment.

Darvish recently said on his personal Twitter account that the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins, and “one more team” have been in the running for his services. The unnamed team was believed to be the Dodgers, but it may well be the Brewers.

The Brewers could certainly use Darvish’s arm. Chase Anderson and Zach Davies currently lead the starting rotation and the club added Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo this offseason.

Darvish, 31, posted a 3.86 ERA with a 209/58 K/BB ratio in 186 2/3 innings between the Rangers and Dodgers in the regular season last year. He faltered in the playoffs, specifically in the World Series, where he gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings across two starts. Darvish was apparently tipping his pitches, however, which is a correctable issue.