Five teams — including the Yankees — are interested in Jeff Francis

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Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mets, Nationals, Pirates, Rangers and Yankees have shown interest in Jeff Francis, who most recently pitched for the Rockies.  Some of those other teams have been mentioned before, but this is the first time anyone has reported the Yankees’ interest.

As Drew noted over the weekend, Francis was rusty at times last year, but he improved in the second half and his velocity was up.  He could be a good candidate for sharp improvement in 2011. There aren’t a lot of teams who he couldn’t help in some capacity, even if it’s just as a fourth or fifth starter.

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.