On the other side of the coin is Bruce Chen who also represents a good deal for the Royals at just another 2 million gaurunteed. However, unlike Francis his numbers seem to suggest a drop off from his 2010 results. Nonetheless I am a fan of this deal as well.
With the two signings the Royals rotation is upgraded considerably, and with six major league ready starters Sean O'Sullivan should be allowed to begin the year in Omaha. There he can attempt to learn how to strike some hitters out, an aspect of his game that he is going to need to improve on in order to find any success at the Major League level.
Also, with the two signings the 2011 Royals go from having one of the worst rotations in organizational history to having a rotation that should be stronger than the 2010 version.
But wait the 2010 version had Zack Greinke!
Well based on the results Zack Greinke had an era of 4.17. Let's look at last year's starting six compared to what the Royals should have in 2011.
As you can see compared with the team a year ago the 2011 rotation actually comes out in a pretty favorable light. I also expect that we are going to see a much stronger defensive unit this season in Kansas City particularly in the infield. As a result of this I think Luke Hochevar is going to take a huge step forward and become a very stable starter once every five days. I am sure that Hochevar is also aware of the growing army of pitching prospects in the minors behind him meaning. His deadline for proving himself is growing nearer.
There are those, myself included that have at times viewed 2011 as the waiting line to the midnight premier for when the clock strikes 12, or as I should say the calendar flips to 2012. However, in the next couple of months I am going to try and rile up as much enthusiasm as possible, because it is my opinion that sports are much more enjoyable when there is at least the hope of victory. The signings of Bruce Chen and Jeff Francis provide just a little more hope.