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 is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.