Athletics pick up Jeff Francis off of waivers from the Reds

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Jeff Francis was designated for assignment by the Reds on Friday after starting the second half of Thursday’s double-header against the Padres. The left-hander has been claimed off of waivers by the Athletics, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The team will announce it after Sunday’s game against the Indians.

Aside from the one start with the Reds, Francis had spent the 2014 season with Triple-A Louisville. There, he posted a 3.33 ERA with a 45/12 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings over eight starts. Francis was converted into a reliever by the Rockies in the second half of the 2013 season after posting poor results out of the rotation. The A’s will use him as a long man out of the bullpen and as a spot starter, if necessary.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Athletics placed infielder Jake Elmore on the 60-day disabled list. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Athletics optioned pitcher Joe Savery to Triple-A Sacramento.

Four teams are in on Mike Moustakas

Mike Moustakas
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Free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas is drawing interest from at least four clubs, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Friday. The Brewers are the presumed frontrunners to land the infielder, but Heyman adds that the Angels may take the inside edge as Moustakas hails from the San Fernando Valley and has invested in charity efforts in California over the last year. The Phillies and Padres, on the other hand, have been involved to a lesser degree as they’re both thought to be in hot pursuit of fellow free agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though their interest in the veteran Moustakas could ramp right back up should they lose out on Machado in the weeks to come.

Moustakas, 30, declined a $15 million mutual option with the Brewers at the end of the 2018 season, and like many others left on the market, has yet to find a landing spot in advance of spring training. While he’s several years removed from his last All-Star performance, he ran a decent campaign with the Royals and Brewers last year, slashing a combined .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, a .774 OPS, and 2.4 fWAR across 635 plate appearances.

He certainly appears to be a fit in Anaheim, where he could supplant Zack Cozart at the hot corner and balance out the Angels’ right-heavy lineup alongside Kole Calhoun, Justin Bour, and Tommy La Stella. Even if the Angels have serious interest in the third baseman, however, they’re likely to wait and see what kind of contract Machado (and the as-yet unsigned Bryce Harper) fetches before extending any serious offers of their own. They’re far from the only club to use the four-time All-Star as a litmus test this offseason, which has only fueled a growing unrest among MLB players who believe that more serious action — such as a midseason walk-out or a league-wide strike — will need to be taken over the next few months.