6:52pm: The Royals have non-tendered Franco, infielder Jeison Guzman, infielder/outfielder Erick Mejia and outfielder Bubba Starling, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star tweets. This could end Starling’s tenure in KC. He was the fifth overall pick in 2011 but hasn’t come close to living up to his draft status.
3:22pm: The Royals are expected to non-tender third baseman Maikel Franco, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected Franco to earn between $4.5MM and $8MM in his final year of arbitration eligibility, but those figures were too rich for the Royals’ blood.
Although he was a star prospect with the Phillies, Franco didn’t pan out in their uniform after an excellent rookie showing in 2015. The Phillies non-tendered him after last season as a result, and Franco then caught on with the Royals on a $2.95MM guarantee. It ended up as a decent investment for Kansas City, with which Franco slashed .278/.321/.457 (106 wRC+) and totaled eight home runs in 243 plate appearances. He also chipped in playable work at third base with zero Defensive Runs Saved and a plus-1.3 Ultimate Zone Rating in 51 games.
While Franco took a step forward this past season, the Royals obviously don’t think that production merited a sizable raise in arbitration. That means the 28-year-old Franco will head back to the open market, where he’ll join the likes of Marwin Gonzalez and Todd Frazier after top option Justin Turner.