Jeff Francis was thought to be the rock of the Colorado Rockies‘ rotation.
He has the most experience battling the altitude and was once a 17 game winner in the purple pinstripes. This season he was supposed to add veteran leadership to a staff that was searching for an identity.
Francis has not been good on the mound and may be staring at a demotion quickly.
In a loss to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, April 23 at Coors Field, the lefty gave up three home runs and watched his ERA balloon to 8.44. Francis has not looked good since the home opener earlier in April. Those are the first three homers he has given up this year.
Francis is not going to blow anyone away with his fastball. He is pure finesse and always has been. He is the definition of a crafty lefty. When he is not hitting his spots he is in big trouble.
When the Rockies brought Francis back this offseason it was for stability. The Rockies had no idea what kind of rotation they were going to have as it was full of question marks. Right now the biggest question is how long will Francis stay in the rotation?
The Rockies are competing at a higher level than expected. If Francis is not performing, it is time to find someone who can. Much like with the struggling Juan Nicasio, replacements are ready in the minors. Drew Pomeranz or Tyler Chatwood could be in majors sooner rather than later.
Francis is an important part of Rockies history. He started the first World Series game in club history and is tied for most wins in a season with 17. But if he can’t perform at a high level, it is time to step up or move on.