August 30, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jeff Francis (26) pitches during the second inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

MLB Free Agents: Cincinnati Reds Sign Jeff Francis

The Cincinnati Reds and free agent starting pitcher Jeff Francis reached a minor league agreement late last night.

The Reds had been linked to Francis since last week as the club continued its search for starting rotation depth.  Other teams showed interest in Francis as well, including the Mariners, Blue Jays, Mets and Cubs.

After spending his entire professional career as a member of the Colorado Rockies, Francis signed with the Kansas City Royals last January.  The left-hander maintained an ERA and WHIP of 4.82 and 1.437 over his 31 starts and 183 innings pitched in 2011.

The 31-year-old has a career ERA and WHIP of 4.78 and 1.430 over his seven seasons in the majors.  Francis’s best years came in 2006-07 when he won a combined 30 games and averaged more than 200 innings pitched per year.

It may be hard for Francis to crack the Reds starting rotation without injuries or other unforeseen circumstances taking place.  Before they added Francis, Cincinnati already had six pitchers competing for five spots; Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman.

For more on the Reds, be sure to check out Blog Red Machine.

You can check out all of the available free agents by position below.

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Tags: Aroldis Chapman Bronson Arroyo Cincinnati Reds Homer Bailey Jeff Francis Johnny Cueto Mat Latos Mike Leake

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