As we all know, the Mets are in the market for a fifth starter, yet have very little money to spend. What surprises me is that Mets are not pursuing Jeff Francis more aggressively. According to Buster Olney, Brandon Webb signed for $3 million, plus incentives which can total up to $8 to 10 million. Francis will probably sign for less than that. The Mets could probably sign Francis for around $2 million, with incentives which go up to $5 or $6 million. At that value, which expects him to put up around 1 WAR, there is not much risk. It seems like people are forgetting that Jeff Francis posted a 1.9 WAR last year, and that was after missing the first part of the season. Francis is being lumped with Webb and Chris Young in a group of injury prone pitchers. However, that was Francis' first major injury, and from 2005-2007 he pitched three full seasons. Also, unlike those two pitchers, he actually pitched in the second half last season.
Francis had a 5.00 ERA last year, which could be the reason he is not being aggresively pursued by the Mets. However, they should realize that he pitched half of his games at Coors Field and will benefit from pitcher-friendly Citi Field. Moneyball was all about finding players who were undervalued. Francis is being undervalued by many teams, as he has not signed yet and is not expected to sign for much, but in a full season will probably be an average pitcher. He is projected by Bill James to regress from a 3.88 to a 4.25 FIP, but will be a valuable pitcher nonetheless.
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