The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the clubs interested in Jeff Francis, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports. Francis is coming off a year where he was healthy for a full season with the Royals, putting up a 4.82 ERA in 183 innings. His advanced metrics suggests he was better than that ERA, with a 4.29 xFIP. Francis is similar to Paul Maholm in that both pitchers are left handed, get good ground ball ratios, don’t allow a lot of walks, but also don’t strike out a lot of batters. If the Pirates signed him he would probably see a boost pitching at PNC Park.
In my preview of the starting pitching market, I mentioned Francis as one of the four realistic options that I liked for the Pirates. Of course there’s also the Clint Hurdle impact to consider, as Francis pitched under Hurdle for several years in Colorado.
UPDATE 12:43 PM: Michael Sanserino of the Post-Gazette says that the interest in Francis is “inaccurate”, per an industry source.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.