Colorado Rockies starter Jeff Francis gave up three home runs in his first game in a Rockies uniform in 2004 in an 8 – 1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. On Tuesday night, Francis surrendered three home runs to the Toronto Blue Jays in what could potentially be his last in a Colorado uniform.
Francis, who made history as a member of the Rockies in 2007 as the first Canadian starter to win a playoff game and start a World Series game, hoped a return to his home country would treat him favorably. That unfortunately would not be the case, as he surrendered a total of eight runs in the loss on Tuesday.
Less than one week after the Rockies designated long-time home grown second baseman and outfield Eric Young Jr. for assignment, they once again face the possibility of saying goodbye to another home-grown product. Francis was the Rockies’ first round selection (ninth overall) in 2002.
Much like the EY Jr. situation, the writing was on the wall for Francis due to struggles in starts this season and a current 6.58 ERA. That said, obvious decisions don’t make them easy decisions for Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd, who is an advocate for grooming talent within the organization. Francis and Young join names like Matt Holiday, Ubaldo Jiminez, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton on O’Dowd’s resume of players drafted and groomed by the Rockies organization.
If the Rockies do make a move with Francis, he will be the fifth from the Rockies’ opening day roster to depart the team. Young was traded to the New York Mets, Chris Nelson and Reid Brignac were traded to the New York Yankees and Jon Garland was released.
The business of baseball can be brutal but necessary at times. Although fans develop a certain personal regard for each player and losing them is disappointing, there is a silver lining to the number of Rockies roster changes this season. The moves signify a commitment from the Rockies front office to a potential pennant race in the fall. The powers that be in Colorado believe this team is a contender.
Speaking of roster moves, there’s one that is no longer speculated but confirmed – Roy Oswalt will make his debut for the Rockies Thursday in Washington. Activating Oswalt makes the starting rotation crowded, and the probability of a change with Francis or Juan Nicasio imminent.
Smart money says Nicasio moves to a bruised and battered Rockies bullpen while Francis’ days are numbered in the Rocky Mountains.