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We Lost Jeff Francis! (Yawn.)


John Bonnes
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I saw several tweets yesterday bemoaning the fact that the Twins didn't get Jeff Francis considering he signed a minor league deal with the Reds. I've certainly cast a skeptical eye towards the Twins aggressive stance early in this offseason, especially in the bullpen. But the Francis signing, IMHO, points out the risk/reward of waiting out the musical chairs game that is the free agent market:

 

Reward - when the music stops, there can be an awful lot of players anxious to take a seat in your remaining chair

Risk - all of those players might kinda suck.

 

When I look at Francis, I wonder why anyone would bemoan missing out on him. MLB GMs seem to agree - he just signed a minor league deal with a team in which there is no guarantee of a rotation spot. All by itself, that's revealing. But there is plenty of other evidence:

 

1. His fastball lost a couple of mph and tops out at about 84 according to rotowire.com

2. His k rate was down in the mid 4s last year.

3. He was hit like a pinata at a ADHD kids birthday party last year.

 

I expect that last point is why so many analysts kind of like him - it's almost unfathomable that a guy can give up 220+ hits in 180 innings without some bad luck being involved. That may be true, but there is another explanation - a pitcher can just kinda suck. Those guys get weeded out in a hurry and thus don't impact Voros McCracken's correlation coefficient much, but there is no question they exist. I suspect yesterday's deal reflects MLB's organic weeding process more than it reflects the Twins cluelessness.

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It is strange that so many that had ZERO interest in Jeff Francis coming to the Twins are upset that he didn't come to the Twins because of the minor league deal. Now, many Twins fans wanted the team to bring in Dan Wheeler, so when he signed a minor league deal with Cleveland, I would expect that several people were none-to-happy!

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