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.