The Royals have reached agreement on a one-year deal with third baseman Maikel Franco, MLB.com’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reported earlier today that Kansas City “emerged as the favorite” among the teams vying for the infielder, and a deal could be coming shortly. Franco will earn $2.95MM in guaranteed money, with another $1.05MM available in incentives, as per Heyman. Franco is a client of the Octagon agency.
Once considered one of the game’s better prospects, Franco burst onto the scene by posting an .840 OPS over 335 PA for the Phillies in 2015, seemingly staking his claim to being Philadelphia’s third baseman of the future. That hot start only led to intermittent success over the next four seasons, however, as Franco hit .247/.299/.427 with 88 homers over 2146 plate appearances from 2016-19.
With the Phillies impatient to return to contention and upgrade their third base situation, they parted ways with Franco this winter, non-tendering him rather than keep him on the roster. Franco was projected to receive a $6.7MM arbitration salary in what would have been his third trip through the arb process. He’ll now get less than half of that in Kansas City, though with the opportunity for some decent incentive bonuses and (more importantly) the chance to re-establish himself as a legitimate everyday player at the big league level.
The Nationals and Rangers were two other clubs known to have interest in Franco after he became a free agent, though since the Royals aren’t likely to be in contention this season, Franco will get a longer look than he would for other teams who might give him a shorter leash.
Interestingly, Franco’s addition would seemingly hint at a position switch for Hunter Dozier, who played 100 of his 139 games at the hot corner last season. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets that Dozier will move to right field, with Whit Merrifield moving to center field. That would also seem to indicate that Jorge Soler is primed to spend much of his time as a DH next year, though Dozier also has experience playing first base. (There’s also the possibility of a Soler trade, though the most recent reports suggest the Royals are more likely to hang onto Soler.) Dozier was bound to remain a regular part of Kansas City’s lineup in the wake of his impressive 2019 season, though since he didn’t exhibit much glovework at third base, the Royals could now shift Dozier around between first base, right field, and DH.
He’s not going to save the team.
Because most $3MM signings do?
i hate my father
what a dumb comment. Their offseason approach is about finding reclamation projects not finding a one-man team.
Insight and critical thinking like this is why I come here…
It’s not about saving the team, it’s about re-establishing himself. He was on a short leash every season in Philly. Now he’s playing in a place with no expectations. So I assume that he will have a longer leash to prove himself.
I would agree with you if you said Franco was on a short leash ‘last’ season. Makes Franco was Philly’s starting 3B for three years before 2019. He was given 2500+ plate appearances to establish himself in Philly’s future. What more could the Phillies have given Franco?
I wish we had the coaching staff to tap into Maikel’s potential. I loved his makeup, and from my observations it looked like he was a great clubhouse player. With that being said, Maikel is not a bad player, but Phillies have the capability to deploy someone else at 3B and use his ~$6 million arbitration salary to bolster other parts of the roster.
Well stated, tug..
Their savior is Mike Matheny.
Great signing. Could have tons of upside
I agree. I wish the Tigers would’ve considered him more. 2 additional years of team control is the other kicker.
Maybe he will finally figure things out there. He kept regressing in Philly.
One more alternative the rangers can’t go after.
Replacement for Cuthbert.
Markelle Fultz of the MLB
Franco has lightyears more talent than that bum.
And more results
yeah really. at least Maikel had like 2 good years.
Smart signing by KC. Well done.
Good move for him. I hope he finds it in KC, but he was mostly awful in philly
How can anyone criticize this pick-up? great on all accounts for a rebuilding small market team.
Will miss you Maikel! Better player than the stats may tell. Solid addition for a rebuilding club like KC
heck of an arm. they should try him in the outfield.
I’m tellin you man, he’s one of the best in baseball at that bare handed slow roller up the third base line. Makes it look easy every time. I hope he finally puts up that .280/.333/480 slash line with 35 dingers and 90 rib like we all thought he would every year since his rookie breakout season. It’s possible
Only teams he’s good against is the Mets
Aldaberto Mondesi SS
Whit Merrifield 2B
Maikel Franco 3B
Hunter Dozier 1B
Brett Phillips DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Nick Heath CF
Bubba Starling RF
I guess ., trade Soler for pitching at this point
Phillips at DH – that’s funny
i hate my father
It is going to be a new trend, put your defense first players with no power or any ability to hit MLB pitching in the DH spot.,
McBroom will get his at bats and play if he’s hot at the plate.. and Phillips will continue to underachieve.
That is a stupid lineup idea. Nick Heath won’t with the Royals when the season starts. Dozier won’t be starting the season at 1B. Phillips DEFINITELY won’t be starting at DH! Starling and Phillips both won’t be in the starting lineup ect……
Brett Phillips can’t hit so why would you have him DH?
Plus Alex hasn’t even decided if he’s returning and he would definitely not be batting seventh!
Why ? on Earth… would you trade Soler for pitching…
When you have 6 potential studs in AA or higher ???
and Franco won’t hit 3rd…
Think it Through Bud….
midseason trade bait
I still believe in Franco who showed brief signs of brilliance on both sides of the field in 2019. Unfortunately they were very brief. I think a good manager can “fix” his issues.
i too have a hard time giving up. was right to non-tender him, but if he had been in line for a minors deal that would have been a good idea.
Completely agree. Had to be tendered, but tough to give up on him. Just not a good fit right now.
I see a KC trade coming. Either that or Dayton Moore knows that Alex Gordon isn’t coming back.
No they really want Alex to return but that’s his decision. Last time he was a free agent after the World Series year he signed his four year contract in January. If he decides to return on a one year deal it’ll probably be January
I like this move on paper, but my reservation is anecdotally I feel like Hunter hit better when he was at 3B every day and at one point he actually said that he didn’t like playing 1B.
One way or the other, Franco isn’t a Royal come September. He’ll either get cut if he’s bad or flipped for prospects if he gets back to form.
Likely going to see significant time in RF if Gordon is gone and Merrifield plays LF with Starling and Phillips platooning CF.
Early success at age 22 might have made him complacent. You need to push to stay on top.
Gotta the complacent insinuations about latino players. There’s a lot of players that struggle.
Was kinda hoping Cleveland would sign him
Looks like KC management does not have faith in Kelvin Gutierrez. He and Dozier were the logical players to pencil in at third base, and we all know Dozier is going to be in the line-up almost every day.
So the real move here is Maikel Franco has probably replaced Gutierrez on the 25-man roster. I guess that is an upgrade, but since Franco will cost at least $2.5M more than Gutierrez, and will be playing on a one year contract, I can’t say that I like the signing.
Much rather seen the Royals invest the money in a reclamation pitcher or two. Even if Franco has a nice bounce back year, it will be much harder to trade him for value than it would be to trade a pitcher.
The Royals just got a little bit better. Franco’s a good hitter. Way to go. Oh, wait, Matheny is manager, right? Doesn’t matter. Good luck Royals. Great ballpark, anyway. The restaurant food in KC around the ballpark is good, too.
The restaurant food around the park? Do you mean Dennys? Or the Mickey Ds at the next exit in Independence?
The Royals should relocate their team to a city that can support the franchise.
Fans do support the team….At least those loyal fans that don’t care if they’re rebuilding. Now that Salvy’s back for 2020 maybe a few fans will return as well
Did you complain when the Royals fans were stuffing the ASG ballots?
Royals draw from a fanbase that is 200-300 miles around KC. For many it’s a vacation to go to the Royals. It’s why they had turf all those years…to avoid rainout. I cant fault a family much for making other plans when they live on Western KS. That’s like saying the Red Sox fans in Philadelphia stopped showing up at games.
Often people don’t comprehend the sheer distances involved out west. People will drive 4 hours to a Royals game and then turn around and drive home THAT NIGHT! Why they had turf….didnt want to rain those people out any more than necessary.
One thing that surprised me is that Franco was actually rated better on defense than Dozier is by UZR this year. Also here’s how I’d have the Royals line up:
Where’s my man Starling? lol
Unless the Royals control him for two years, giving any AB’s to him this year instead of young controlled players is stupid.
The Royals dont have the talent to give the at bats to or they wouldnt be looking for a bottom range wild card talent. If he plans out they can maybe flip him for that prospect that deserves time. Let’s say he comes up with a .270-30HR type season…gets the obp into the .320 range…he can be dealt. Someone needs to take the abs…and hes worth a shot.
He is controlled for 2 years. 2021 is his final year of arbitration.
Funny how Avila hints at making the team better and then sits on things while teams around him get better. Good for KC.
And he’ll beat KC to another Overall 1st Draft Pick as well.
Nice pick-up for a rebuilding team. If the Marlins didn’t have Bryan Anderson, I would’ve wanted us to get Franco.
Mark is the best writer on this site.
Gonna miss u Mikey. Good fielder, some clutch hits and a fun player but may be the slowest infielder not playing 1B in the league.. If he could beat out a ground out once in a while he would produce more.
Good. Glad the Rangers didn’t sign him.
Actually finished in second place in intentional walks behind only Bellinger last season, batting mostly 8th. If given playing time, he’ll hit 25 hr and 75 rbi’s in a no pressure sutuation. Might not be good enough stats for a “playoff team” 3rd baseman but for half of the teams in the league who know they’re not playoff teams those stats for a third baseman are just fine.
The Phillies are no better at this point with or without him. I wish they would have just resigned him instead of deciding to play guys out of position for marginal offensive production gains I have said this a few times regarding him but I’ll respond to the “playoff team” stats comment with this. The Phils won in 2008 with Feliz at 3rd because the team was so good everywhere else, 3rd base wasn’t a key position. With decent pitching the Phils could have won with Franco at 3rd. Maikel would be a plus on a good team that has enough hitting that he could bat 7th or 8th. He has streaky power, his defense is good and he can make a spectacular play now and then because of his arm. He will not make the Royals better than what they are but they could do worse than Franco.
I wish him luck and will follow his season and be happy for him if just for the fact that he should get plenty of playing time. I would expect to see him bat about .260 with 25-28 HR if he gets 525 AB. If the Royals can exercise the demons Krapler and gang put in his head the last couple seasons then its possible he will be more consistent and his run production might increase. It was hard to tell what was Franco and what was poor coaching when it came to his struggles.
As a Phillies fan, I wish Maikel good luck in KC. I’m also really glad he’s gone. This is addition by subtraction for the Phils. The team should have cut their losses a year or two ago. He seems like a great guy, always upbeat, but his head was just not in the game. Very enticing raw skills, but horrible baseball instincts.
People saying that he is a strong defender must not really be watching the games. He has a cannon arm and makes some spectacular plays, but makes just as many blunders, not to mention his range is limited. My guess is he will continue to show tantalizing flashes, but still fail to live up to his potential.
Thank god he went to the AL. I swear the he only hit well against was the Mets bullpen.
Philly here. I like Franco, hearts in the right place. Think the change of scenery is what he needs.
All Franco did was keep his mouth shut, play hard, average about 25/85/.250 (projected full season stats) and give you solid defense from the 7 hole. Never understood the Philly hate towards this guy.
“.247/.299/.427 with 88 homers over 2146 plate appearances from 2016-19”
Hate? No, but he hasn’t been good.
They snowballed Santa Claus. I’d say they were almost smitten with Franco. Love is a tricky thing.
Give me a break about the snowballs. Where you from red line?
Give you a break? You weren’t even in this comment thread. That’s just a fact. Philly nailed Santa. That’s funny as hell! I’d own that one. Forgive yourself. Why does it matter where I’m from? Trust me…I can heckle anywhere I’ve ever lived including myself. I love Philly!
Good for you dude
.299 obp over that sample size. Yikes.
As a Phillies fan. Good luck Maikel. I think he’ll do well in Kansas City
As a Phillies fan, I’m so sick of hearing/reading that some Phillies player was a highly touted prospect only to not pan out the way they thought. It’s sickening how pathetic our drafting is. I’m not exactly sure if the number but I don’t think we’ve had a home grown 20 game winning pitcher in 50 years. At least it feels that way.