Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jeff Francis pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
The former No. 1 pick of the Rockies is now a free agent.
Jeff Francis was once a top lefthanded pitching prospect. He was the No. 1 pick of the Rockies (ninth overall) in 2002 and by 2006 was putting up decent seasons for Colorado, albeit with somewhat high ERAs (even for Coors Field).
Then the injuries happened. Francis missed the entire 2009 season, came back briefly for the Rockies in 2010 and was pretty bad for the Royals in 2011 (6-16, 4.82 ERA, 1.44 WHIP). He signed with the Reds this past winter and had been pitching at Triple-A Louisville, where he made 12 starts with a decent 3.72 ERA and 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
That apparently wasn't good enough for the Reds, who failed to call him up by June 1. On that date he had an opt-out clause in his contract:
#Reds have released LHP Jeff Francis at his request. He had an opt-out in his contract on June 1. Francis is now a free agent— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) June 4, 2012
So Francis is now a free agent. He's 31 years old and lefthanded and did not miss a Triple-A start this year. You can imagine teams will be burning up his agent's phone line soon.