Rumors

Nationals, Rangers monitoring Maikel Franco’s market


Maikel Franco was non-tendered by the Phillies last month. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Multiple teams are reportedly keeping tabs on former Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco’s free-agent market.

Jon Morosi of MLB.com says that the Texas Rangers could consider Franco if they are unable to sign free agent Anthony Rendon. The team that most recently employed Rendon, the Washington Nationals, has some level of interest as well, per Jon Heyman of RADIO.COM.

The feeling here is that the Rangers, who will move into a new stadium in 2020, will ultimately make a splash at the hot corner, whether it’s Rendon, Josh Donaldson or mounting an effort to land Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant in a trade.

Meanwhile, the Nationals’ path forward is less clear. They could lose Rendon, but have been connected to both Donaldson and Bryant as well. Franco’s best angle to signing in D.C. may be if the team is unable to retain franchise icon Ryan Zimmerman, though there’s not currently any indication that’s likely to be the case.

Regardless of where he ultimately lands, it’s not a surprise that there’s some level of interest in the 27-year-old, who the Phillies non-tendered in November. He has a strong arm at third base and 102 career home runs. On an American League team, especially one without a clear path forward at first base and/or DH, he might not be a bad person to take a flier on.

However, Franco posted a 43.2 percent groundball percentage in 2019, which was actually the lowest mark of his career. It would be generous to say that he’s not quick. Until he learns how to keep the ball off the ground – something that multiple coaching staffs tried to work with him on – his potential will be limited.

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