Originally posted on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 1/26/12

Last week it was reported by ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that the New York Mets were one of four teams “keeping tabs” on 31-year-old free agent starter Jeff Francis.  After a couple of late night tweets from both Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, it seems as if the left hander has to a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds:

francis, #reds have a deal on minor-league contract. @Ken_Rosenthal 1st said close. good job reds and rosenthal about 8 hours ago via webReplyRetweetFavorite @JonHeymanCBS Jon Heyman

With Francis off the board, what’s next for the Mets? There is no question the club could use another starter; especially with the uncertainty surrounding Johan Santana. While I am starting to believe the team will NOT sign another starter, I echo the sentiments of my MetsZilla co-writer Matt Silvestri, who stated the following some weeks ago:

Please, Sandy, I beg you, HELP THE ROTATION.  This team cannot (and most likely will not) win with the rotation as currently constructed.  I understand the line up is pretty much set, so where do we see an area for improvement…How about the rotation?  Currently we’re looking at Johan Santana (maybe, probably, sort of, who knows), R.A. Dickey,  Mike Pelfrey, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.  If everything breaks right (and the Mets are still the Mets so I wouldn’t count on that) this rotation is still only good enough to get you to about .500, and that would require Johan to return to pre-op form, Pelfrey and Niese reaching their potential, Dickey to remain consistent and Gee to simply be average.   It’s not enough.

Please Sandy, help the rotation. We need rotation help more than we need bench players…”

Problem is, taking a look at the available free agent starting pitchers — according to MLB Trade Rumors — I don’t see much help on the horizon:

Although there are some interesting names — I’ve always been a Doug Davis, Zach Duke and Rich Harden fan — most of these players are 1) to expensive, 2) injury prone, or 3) not very good. And so, with help coming from outside the organization looking bleak, maybe it will be coming from within; Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia and Darin Gorski.

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