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  • We Lost Jeff Francis! (Yawn.)

    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.

    (This is not Jeff Francis. But it might be soon.)==>

    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.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: We Lost Jeff Francis! (Yawn.) started by John Bonnes View original post
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Funny John. You mentioned Jeff Francis as one of your targets during a Gleeman and the Geek podcast.
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      Also, I love how people like to point out Francis's fastball velocity (which sucks, yeah, I know) but it was about as effective as Edwin Jackson's 95+ fastball. What's more is that Francis has been more valuable -WAR wise - than Roy Oswalt.

    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      There's a difference between accepting a guy as an inning-eating fifth starter and grumping about missing out on a guy. Francis falls in that spread.

      If the overall point is that the Twins overpaid for Jason Marquis, I agree, and I thought that at the time. That's the danger of the Twins "propose an open offer and sign the guy that takes it" method: the guy that takes is the guy you overvalued the most relative to the market. I'd claim the Twins have overpaid for half of the guys they've picked up this offseason: Carroll, Capps & Marquis. But I think they got bargains on the other half: Doumit, Zumaya & Willingham. So I don't know that I can criticize them too vehemently on their strategy.

      BTW, good story. I'm couldn't help but wonder exactly how slow Francis' changeup (his primary offspeed pitch) must be to offset an 84mph fastball. And while the two players' fastballs might be equally effective, the pitchers themselves certainly weren't. It isn't that big a spread between an eight-figure salary and retirement, apparently.
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