Kansas City, Mo. — Without making any predictions, Jeff Francis says he can see parallels between the young Kansas City Royals of 2011 and the pennant-winning Colorado Rockies he pitched for in 2007.
That’s one reason the 30-year-old left-hander agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Kansas City on Friday, a deal worth about $2 million.
“I think they’re on similar paths that Colorado was five or six years ago,” Francis said. “So, I’ve seen it happen and I know it can be done. It’s certainly an exciting time for an organization.”
Also on Friday, the Royals settled on a $1.4 million, one-year deal with outfielder Alex Gordon, leaving first baseman Billy Butler and right-handed pitchers Kyle Davies and Robinson Tejeda as the only arbitration-eligible players still unsigned. Earlier this week, right-hander Luke Hochevar avoided arbitration when he agreed to a one-year deal for $1.76 million.
Francis was 17-9 with the Rockies in 2007 when they won 21 of 22 games in a September run to the NL wild-card spot and advanced to the club’s first World Series. He beat the Philadelphia Phillies in a playoff start but underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in early 2009 and missed the entire season.
He came back in 2010 with spotty success, going 4-10 with a 5.00 ERA in 20 games.
He said he had some shoulder soreness late last year which caused the ERA to climb but feels OK now.