Are the New York Yankees really adding depth to their pitching staff by acquiring Oakland Athletics’ left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis?
The pitching rotation for the Yankees is just a huge mess right now. Honestly, I don’t know what’s going on with it or how they plan to fix by the end of the season.
They’ve lost four starting pitchers due to injury, they’ve brought pitchers up from Triple-A, designated right-handed pitcher Jim Miller for assignment, and made two trades, but it all still seems like a huge mess. The current starting five has now been reduced to Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy, David Phelps, Shane Greene and Chase Whitley.
The first trade that the Yankees made this season was Vidal Nuno for Arizona Diamondbacks’ Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy’s first start with the Yanks was a week ago versus the Cleveland Indians; he had a solid performance, in which the biggest take away was that he didn’t get hurt. Lets be honest, that’s all we can ask for at this point.
The next player the Yankees acquired in the trade was A’s Jeff Francis. Francis is a veteran in the MLB, with this being his 10th season in the majors. He has played for the Colorado Rockies, the Kansas City Royals, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Athletics.
I have to admit, he seems like kind of a floater this current season. By that I mean this is his third team transition in this season alone. He started out with the Reds, made one start and then the Athletics claimed him off waivers. He pitched nine relief outings for them until they designated Francis for assignment last week. The Yankees picked him up along with cash considerations in the deal.
Francis had some success early on in his career, being the 9th overall pick in the draft in 2002, and was a huge contributor to the Colorado Rockies while he was with them in 2007- he helped lead the Rockies to the playoffs for the first time in a decade. During the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the Rockies, Francis split time between the rotation and bullpen and became a free agent.
Francis has a career record of 70-80 with a 4.95 ERA. I’m sorry but that isn’t impressive to me and obviously I think the Yankees can do better, although I know they are beyond desperate right now.
This season he is 0-2 with a 5.89 ERA in nine relief appearances for the Athletics and one start for the Reds. Maybe GM Brian Cashman saw a spark of potential in him, and thinks he might be someone the coaching staff can work with, but why would New York want someone that the Athletics wouldn’t want? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Let us remember that this is the New York Yankees we are talking about. A championship team, legends of baseball came from here, young kids used to dream about being a part of the Yankee franchise. But now I can’t help but think about what a disappointment the team has been these past few years. Where is that coveted championship team? And when can I expect to see it back?