LHP Jeff Francis has agreed to terms with the Kansas City Royals on a one-year deal, I say good riddance. The Mets are much better off going after Chris Young than Francis. Although both have had more than their share of injuries the past two seasons, there is much more upside to Young.
Even at a quick glance the stats show that Young is the more reliable, proven and overall better pitcher. Young has a career 48-34 record and a 3.80 ERA to match, while on the other hand, Francis has posted a career 4.77 ERA with a 55-50 record. Young has four seasons with an ERA under 4.0, Francis’ best season ERA-wise was a 4.16 in 2006. Without even going into the split stats and specifics, Young already looks to be a better direction.
While a great deal of the attention this off season, once Lee went to the Phillies, had been devoted to Francis, he is pretty overrated. The 30-year old southpaw had spent his entire career with the Colorado Rockies, an offensive powerhouse. Francis after missing all of 2009 due to shoulder surgery did not exactly dazzle in his 2010 return going 4-6 with an even 5.00. the When the Rockies scored 0-2 runs in a game, Francis was 1-25 with a 5.77 ERA. When the Rockies scored 3-5 runs, he was 18-20 with a 4.80 ERA. Given this fact, Francis would not have been a smart move for the Mets granted their inconsistent offense shown in 2010. If it wasn’t for the massive run support from the Rockies, Francis would have been at the level of a 6th starter this winter.
Young has been more under the radar, the perfect cheap option for the Mets. He missed nearly all of 2010 due to injury after just one start in April and would return in September for 3 starts finishing the year 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA. He has spent most of his big league career with the San Diego Padres, a ball club not known for having a stacked lineup. When Young’s team scored 0-2 runs, he is 7-18 with a 2.61 ERA. When his team scores 3-5 runs, Young is 13-9 with a 4.42 ERA. The ability to pitch well with little run support is an excellent quality to have, especially with the Mets streaky hitting. Unlike Francis, Young would be able to keep the Mets in the game when runs are scarce.
Francis signed a one-year $2 million base salary deal. Both Francis and Young had their options declined by their respective teams this winter. Alderson said that he will not pay more than $1.5 million for a starter. Francis does not fit into that payroll, but Young does.
If the Mets can sign Chris Young it would be an excellent cheap addition for the 5th starting spot until Santana returns. He would be a lower risk, lower salary and higher reward than the likes of Jeff Francis.