Royals agree to terms with LHP Francis, OF Gordon

Without making any predictions, Jeff Francis says he can see
parallels between the young Kansas City Royals of 2011 and the
pennant-winning Colorado Rockies he pitched for in 2007.

That’s one reason the 30-year-old left-hander agreed to terms on
a one-year contract with Kansas City on Friday, a deal worth about
$2 million.

”I think they’re on similar paths that Colorado was five or six
years ago,” Francis said. ”So, I’ve seen it happen and I know it
can be done. It’s certainly an exciting time for an
organization.”

Also on Friday, the Royals settled on a $1.4 million, one-year
deal with outfielder Alex Gordon, leaving first baseman Billy
Butler and right-handed pitchers Kyle Davies and Robinson Tejeda as
the only arbitration-eligible players still unsigned. Earlier this
week, right-hander Luke Hochevar avoided arbitration when he agreed
to a one-year deal for $1.76 million.

Francis was 17-9 with the Rockies in 2007 when they won 21 of 22
games in a September run to the NL wild-card spot and advanced to
the club’s first World Series. He beat the Philadelphia Phillies in
a playoff start but underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left
shoulder in early 2009 and missed the entire season.

He came back in 2010 with spotty success, going 4-10 with a 5.00
ERA in 20 games.

He said he had some shoulder soreness late last year which
caused the ERA to climb but feels OK now.

”I’ve been feeling really good,” he said. ”I’ve been able to
do anything I wanted to up to this point. I’m excited about it.
I’ll be ready to go for spring training.”

For his career, Francis is 55-50 with a 4.77 ERA in 150
appearances, all but one as a starter.

”I sort of tailed off at the end of (2010) with a bit of
shoulder soreness,” he said. ”Numbers-wise, a lot of things have
to go a pitcher’s way to achieve certain numbers goals. For me, I
concentrate on what I need to do to throw strikes and get people
out. I think that’s what’s going to make a pitcher successful, to
concentrate on what he can control.”

The promise of a lot of youthful talent coming through the
system was one reason he wanted to cast his lot with Kansas City,
he said.

”From everything I’ve been able to learn, they certainly have
the talent available. It’s on its way up. The organization has
taken the steps to sort of foster that.”

Gordon has been a major disappointment since being the overall
No. 2 pick in the 2005 draft. Projected as a future star at third
base, he moved to the outfield last year after a stint in the minor
leagues. He is a career .244 hitter with 45 home runs in 408 games
for the Royals. He could start this year in left field.

Gordon’s contract also includes $100,000 in performance
bonuses.