According to Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle, the Athletics have just acquired Jeff Francis from the Cincinnati Reds. The 33 year old Francis was DFA by the Reds earlier this weekend. A corresponding move has yet to be made by the Athletics.
Who is Jeff Francis? He has spent the majority of his career with the Colorado Rockies, and has a career 4.94 ERA and a 70-79 record.
Why pick up Jeff Francis? The Athletics have been hurt by injuries, particularly in the starting rotation this year, and this move is some added insurance. It has been rumored that John Jaso could be on the move to acquire some starting pitching, but this move could negate that need.
How would picking up a career sub-.500 pitcher with a 4.94 ERA fill a need? The A’s coaching staff has a track record of improving pitchers that come into the organization. Not that you need proof, but let’s take a look at Drew Pomeranz as a comparison. Pomeranz is younger, but also struggled in his time in Colorado, posting ERAs of 5.40, 4.93, and 6.23 in 3 seasons. Pretty similar to Jeff Francis, right? This season with Oakland, Pomeranz has a 1.14 ERA.
In the postseason in 2007, Francis pitched 12.2 innings and gave up just 3 runs in 2 starts in the NLDS and NLCS before a poor World Series performance.
Jeff Francis may not ultimately be the pitcher that the Athletics need, but the potential for some quality outings is certainly there.