4:49 pm: While the Mets have checked in on Franco, a deal is “unlikely to come together at the moment,” reports Tim Britton of the Athletic (via Twitter).
2:35 pm: Franco is expected to pick his next team within the next couple of days, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link).
2:19 pm: The Mets are one of the teams “in the Maikel Franco derby,” MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets. Heyman reported earlier this week that interest in Franco was starting to pick up, and the Orioles were another team known to have some interest in the third baseman’s services.
Franco would be an interesting yet also somewhat odd fit on a Mets team that may already have a surplus for position players. J.D. Davis is the incumbent third baseman, and while New York reportedly looked into adding such stars as Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant this winter, Franco doesn’t represent a clear offensive or defensive upgrade over Davis at the hot corner. The Mets also have Jonathan Villar and Luis Guillorme on hand as more traditional utility infielders, whereas Franco has played only third base and a handful of games at first base over his MLB career.
On the flip side, the Mets may simply want as much depth and talent on hand as possible. The Mets saw plenty of Franco during his days as a once-heralded prospect with the Phillies, though he never fully realized that potential and Philadelphia non-tendered him following the 2019 season. Franco caught on with the Royals and performed well, hitting .278/.321/.457 (106 wRC+, 109 OPS+) over 243 plate appearances in 2020, but Kansas City non-tendered him again rather than pay a projected arbitration salary in the $4.5MM-$8MM range.
At this point in the offseason, Franco’s price tag is significantly lower, so the Mets, Orioles, and other third base-needy teams would surely have interest in the 28-year-old as a potential value signing. A team like Baltimore would be able to offer Franco more in the way of playing time, though Franco could also prefer playing for a projected contender like the Mets, plus New York offers a bit more stability considering that the rebuilding O’s would surely float Franco as a trade chip at the deadline.