According to Jerry Crasnick, the Pirates are in on pitcher Jeff Francis.
Some teams that have expressed early interest in P Jeff Francis: Pittsburgh, Seattle, Colorado, Milwaukee & Houston.
Both Francis and Jorge De La Rosa, whom the Pirates are also reportedly pursuing, pitched under new Pirate manager Clint Hurdle in Colorado. Francis was the Rockies' first round pick in 2002 and was a key contributor down the stretch to Colorado's World Series run in 2007. He's been plagued by injuries since, however, struggling in 2008 and ultimately missing all of 2009 after arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder. In 2010, Francis went 2010 with a 5.00 ERA, and 1.36 WHIP in just over 100 innings. He posted a 5.8 K/9 ratio and a 2.91 K/BB ratio and made $5.7 million with Colorado last season.
In the free agency spectrum, Francis is certainly worth a look. He has a history of past success and profiles similarly to pitchers like Gavin Floyd and Edwin Jackson in addition to De La Rosa and Paul Maholm, according to Baseball Reference. However, his injury history makes him kind of a gamble, like pitcher Justin Duchscherer, another name that has been thrown about in Pirate circles.
If he can be had on the cheap, the Pirates should take a look at him, but anything approaching the $5.7 million he made last year would be imprudent. And, as we've already mentioned, Francis would need help behind him to be successful in Pittsburgh.