The New York Mets are showing interest in former Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to Jon Heyman of RADIO.COM.
Franco, 28, is one of the top position players left on the free-agent market. After being non-tendered by the Phillies, Franco signed a one-year/$2.95 million contract with the Kansas City Royals in December 2019. He slashed .278./.321/.457 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs in the shortened season with Kansas City. Following the 2020 season, Franco was non-tendered for a second-consecutive season.
The Mets are an intriguing fit for Franco. He certainly won’t be the team’s starting third baseman as that role is reserved for J.D. Davis, who batted .307 in his first full season in New York. José Martínez, who the Mets signed to compete for a bench spot, is out after twisting his knee during a spring training game against the Miami Marlins on Sunday.
Franco could be seen as a replacement for Martínez if his injury is serious, but coming off the bench as a pinch-hitter has never been his forte. He has six career hits in 36 at-bats as a pinch hitter and his lack of defensive versatility doesn’t make him a good fit for a full-time bench role.
The Baltimore Orioles are another team that’s in on Franco, according to Heyman. Rio Ruiz is penciled in as Baltimore’s starting third baseman, but Franco should get the chance to compete for a bulk of the playing time at third if he signs with the O’s.
If Franco were to sign with New York, could he be the next great Phillies killer? Probably not, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets a few knocks against his former team. He holds a career .789 OPS at Citi Field.
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