The Reds addressed their need for starting pitching depth tonight, as John Heyman reports that the Reds have signed starting pitcher Jeff Francis to a minor league deal.  Zack Links at MLBTR provides some basic info about Francis’ 2011 season.

Francis spent 2011 with the Royals, posting a 4.82 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 across 31 starts.  His 183 innings of work was his highest total since 2007, the season before he suffered a shoulder injury which required surgery and caused him to miss the entire 2009 campaign.

The 31-year-old Francis pitched six years for the Colorado Rockies. His best season was 2007 when he finished ninth in the NL Cy Young balloting.  The last two years his FIP was substantially below his ERA.  Bill James projects Francis for an ERA of 4.22 and FIP of 4.02 this year.  His FIP last year was actually lower than his 2007 season.

Nothing but upside with this signing.  Starting pitcher depth has been a concern after they traded Travis Wood for Sean Marshall.  Francis was healthy enough to pitch 183 innings last year.