Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has the financial details of Jeff Francis’ one-year contract with the Rockies: He gets $1.5 million in guaranteed money, plus another $1.5 million in potential incentives.
Francis worked in the mid-80s with his fastball this year and posted a 5.58 ERA in 113 innings for the Rockies, but did top 6.0 strikeouts per nine innings for the first time since 2007 and has become an extreme strike-thrower with one of MLB’s lowest walk rates.
And of course the Rockies are very familiar with Francis, having drafted him ninth overall in 2002. He played for Colorado from 2004-2010, left for a one-year stint in Kansas City, and then returned this year. Now he’ll slide into the back of the Rockies’ rotation for 2013.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.