Former Phillie Maikel Franco is heading to Baltimore. Jon Heyman of RADIO.COM reports that Franco and the Orioles are finalizing a deal. It’s unclear if it’s a guaranteed contract.
Franco was rumored to be heading back to the National League East as the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets were in the running for the third baseman’s services.
After being non-tendered by the Phillies following the 2019 season, Franco slashed .278/.321/.457 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs as the Kansas City Royals’ starting third baseman. He’ll compete with Rio Ruiz to become the Orioles’ starter at the hot corner with Franco having the edge over Ruiz.
While the former Phillies top prospect was never quite able to reach his potential, Franco can provide value for an O’s team in need of more production at third base. His ability to limit strikeouts, drive in runs and hit for power will play for a team with a hitter-friendly ballpark that could flip him to a competitive club in need of bench depth at the deadline.
If Franco is still an Oriole by the end of the season, he could make his return to Philadelphia during the final week of the season. The Orioles are set to visit the Phillies for a three-game set from Sept. 20 to the 22.
He’ll reunite with former Phillies teammate Freddy Galvis. If Franco’s deal turns out to be a major league one, Franco and Galvis will be the Orioles’ only big-league signings of the offseason.
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