Are the Orioles out there for a brand new third baseman?
The O’s are considered one of a number of groups linked to veteran third baseman Maikel Franco, one of the crucial productive free-agent place gamers left available on the market, based on a number of experiences by MLB Community insider Jon Heyman. Per Heyman, the Orioles are “contemplating” signing Franco, who additionally counts the Mets amongst his potential suitors.
As soon as a big-time prospect with the Phillies, Franco developed into a high quality however inconsistent participant with Philadelphia, hitting .249 with 102 homers and a .733 OPS (93 OPS+) over components of six seasons. He caught on with the Royals after the Phillies non-tendered him following the 2019 season, hitting .278 with eight homers and a .778 OPS (109 OPS+) and taking part in in all 60 video games with Kansas Metropolis final 12 months. The Royals non-tendered him slightly than pay the increase Franco would have earned for ’21 primarily based on his prorated $2.95 million ’20 wage.
All instructed, Franco, 28, is a profession .252/.304/.433 hitter with 110 house runs and 94 OPS+ over components of seven large league seasons. He has traditionally been rated a below-average defender at third base, accumulating -19 Outs Above Average on the place since 2016, per Statcast.
In Baltimore, Franco would seemingly bump Rio Ruiz out because the O’s major third baseman, or at the least create a platoon between the 2. Claimed off waivers in Mike Elias’ first transaction because the Orioles’ normal supervisor in late 2018, Ruiz has hit .229/.299/.393 with 21 homers (85 OPS+) as Baltimore’s on a regular basis starter over the previous two seasons. He confirmed elevated energy but in addition continued defensive points in 2020, and he’s 1-for-12 to this point on the plate this spring.
(For what it’s value concerning a possible platoon: Franco has roughly even profession splits, whereas Ruiz truly posts reverse splits, although in a a lot smaller pattern.)
Franco would additionally profile to fit in at designated hitter after the membership launched Renato Núñez (12 homers, 121 OPS+ in 2020) earlier than the tender deadline. DJ Stewart’s latest hamstring damage harm the outfielder’s case for at-bats at DH; the O’s additionally plan to make use of the spot usually to spell Trey Mancini in his first season again from battling colon most cancers.
Because it stands, Ruiz’s predominant competitors this spring would come from Rylan Bannon, a bat-first prospect (No. 26 in O’s system, per MLB Pipeline) who may also play second base. Signing Franco would supply extra certainty on the place, which is lean on upper-level prospects behind Bannon, and provides the rebuilding O’s one other potential commerce chip to drift come the Commerce Deadline.