Jeff Francis asked for and got his release from a minor-league contract with the Reds and the 30-year-old left-hander has quickly returned to where his career started, signing with the Rockies.
And now only that, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that Francis will immediately jump into the Rockies’ rotation and start Saturday versus the Angels at Coors Field.
Francis was the Rockies’ first-round pick in 2002 and his relatively modest career numbers rank among the franchise’s best by a pitcher, but he hasn’t been healthy and effective in the same season since 2007. That year he went 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA in 34 starts for the Rockies, but in the five years since then he’s started a total of 74 games with a 14-32 record and 4.93 ERA.
Francis was solid but unspectacular for the Reds at Triple-A, posting a 3.72 ERA and 65/18 K/BB ratio in 77 innings. He also served up six homers and allowed opponents to hit .286, so while Francis may be one of the few pitchers who don’t mind working at Coors Field the reunion might not go so smoothly.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.