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Jeff Francis: A Good Value for the Mets

By Mike Silva ~ January 20th, 2012. Filed under: New York Mets.

Reports indicate the Mets have some interest in free agent starter Jeff Francis.

When you take a quick glance at Francis’ 6-16, 4.82 ERA with Kansas City last season, and you wonder how he could help the Mets. First, and most obvious, the Mets lack big league caliber pitching depth. They were fortunate to get through a majority of last season with only 6 starters, but like most big league team’s they were required to go 9 deep in order to make it through 162 games. Dillon Gee replaced Chris Young; Miguel Batista and Chris Schwinden were called on in September, while D.J. Carrasco took the second game of an early season doubleheader against Atlanta.

Francis was on the Mets radar last offseason, but signed with the Royals for $2 million plus incentives. Looking past the poor record and ERA, there is reason to believe he deserved better, and may be a good fit for a National League club.

His FIP (4.10) and xFIP (4.29) outperformed his ERA by more than a half a run. If you add in a move from the AL to the NL, I could see a return to his best seasons in Colorado where he performed at a similar level. Francis pitches to contact and needs groundballs to be successful. He turned in the best performance of his career in that regard with 47% of his contact “squashing bugs” in 2011. Most importantly, he gave the Royals innings with 183. Do you see much of a difference between Mike Pelfrey and Francis? The real question is regarding Francis’ health, as he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder during his Rockies tenure.

Right now, the Mets rotation consists of Pelfrey, Gee, Dickey, Niese, and Santana; their depth is Miguel Batista and Chris Schwinden, plus any non-roster invitees they bring on board. Quite simply, it’s not enough.

Francis would be a good addition to the rotation. I could see him win 12-14 games and pitch close to 200 innings. He is a better bet to stay healthy and produce than Johan Santana.

The big question is what will he cost? Chris Capuano received a guaranteed $5 million dollars from the Dodgers. I would think Francis wants to be close to that neighborhood. Can the Mets afford it? Do they have the desire? Unfortunately, I don’t have answers to those questions.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Jeff Francis: A Good Value for the Mets

  1. 86mets

    I don’t think Francis will cost quite as much as Capuano, but he won’t be far off. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million is what he’ll likely get. If so, then he’s too pricey for the Mets. Of course, if the Mets cut out those “team building” bowling excursions and post a few players at the gates taking donations they MIGHT just be able to afford Francis! LOL :)

  2. Chuck Johnson

    FIP? xFIP?

    Mike’s turning into a sabermetric junkie.

  3. Mike Silva

    No, not even close, but I think his numbers show that he might not be as bad as the 6-16 record indicates. By no means is he great, but a decent innings-eating groundball pitcher that could do well with the Mets.

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