Jeff Francis has signed an arbitration-avoidance special at four years, $13.25 million. It's good to see Colorado act sooner rather than later on this kind of deal, and a club option is included for a fifth year that will potentially keep Francis around for a season past potential free agency at what will then be a way-below-market $7 or $8 million. Signing your young stars to deals like this one is just good business, and it shouldn't come as any surprise that the models for Francis's contract were deals given Dan Haren and Cliff Lee by Oakland and Cleveland.
Francis doesn't have the pure stuff of either of those guys, but he does relish pitching at Coors Field more than any other starter ever. From a PR standpoint it would look very bad indeed if the Rockies let a homegrown starter walk, since their whole philosophy (these days) is that Coors starters must be made, not bought. So that's one down, anyway. Is there a secret hidden clause in Francis's new deal that says he has to hang on Jason Jennings' shoulder in the bullpen and try and wear him down to re-sign all year? That would be great.