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MLB Rumors 2011: Chicago Cubs Had Talked With Jeff Francis

The Chicago Cubs have poked around a few options to bolster their starting rotation, and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick is reporting that they've spoken with free agent Jeff Francis about a possible deal. Francis likely wouldn't command much money and could fill a hole in the back of Chicago's rotation in the short-term.

Francis, 30, spent last season with the Kansas City Royals after signing a one-year deal as a free agent. Like many expected, he proved to be a solid investment, posting a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts. While that ERA may seem underwhelming, his 4.10 FIP indicates that he pitched a bit better than the superficial on-field results would indicate. 

The soft-tossing lefty doesn't miss many bats with a fastball that averaged less than 85 miles per hour last season, but he has superb command and rarely hands out free passes. Improved defense from the Cubs would make Francis a better fit given how much he depends on the guys behind him, though.

For more updates on Chicago sports, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of the Cubs, head over to Bleed Cubbie Blue. Also, check out MLB Daily Dish for more MLB rumors and transactions.