UPDATE: Jerry Crasnick reports that Francis will get a $2M base salary. He can make $2M more in incentives based on starts and innings pitched. Seems like a good deal. Especially considering that Brad Penny just got $3 million base, $3 million incentives.
9:40 AM: Jerry Crasnick just tweeted that the Royals have signed free agent starter Jeff Francis to a one-year deal, pending a physical.
This is a much-needed signing for the Royals, whose rotation is otherwise avert-your-eyes awful. While no ace — his overall 2010 numbers amounted to a 5.00 ERA in 19 starts — Francis looked much better in the second half, gaining some velocity and otherwise shaking off the rust after missing all of 2009 with shoulder surgery. He should be a quality mid-rotation kind of guy next year.
Which in Kansas City means that he should be a candidate for the Opening Day starter’s gig.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo suffered what appeared to be an awful injury during Sunday’s game against the Pirates, twisting his ankle while attempting to field a bunt. An MRI revealed that he has a lateral sprain of his right ankle, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Rizzo will wear a walking boot for five to seven days before being reevaluated.
Given that there are only two weeks left in the regular season, it seems doubtful Rizzo would be able to return to aid the Cubs’ NL Wild Card chase. The club entered Monday leading the second Wild Card by a game over the Brewers.
Rizzo, 30, is batting .289/.404/.516 with 26 home runs, 93 RBI, and 88 runs scored in 592 plate appearances on the year. Victor Caratini started at first base for Monday’s game against the Reds. The Cubs may also use Ian Happ, Willson Contreras, and Jonathan Lucroy at first base while Rizzo is out.