The Orioles have signed third baseman Maikel Franco, whose name is pronounced Michael Fraun-CO, to a one-year contract.
Franco will earn $800,000 this season and can earn $200,000 in incentives and would get a bonus if he’s traded, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
To make room for Franco on the 40-man roster, the Orioles placed right-handed relief pitcher Hunter Harvey on the 60-day injured list. Harvey, who was dominant in relief for a brief stretch in 2019, strained a left oblique muscle on his first pitch in a game last week.
Franco can be optioned to the minor leagues in the season’s first few weeks because of his late start, according to Heyman. Rio Ruiz, who has been the Orioles’ third baseman for the past two seasons, returned to play yesterday after missing time because of illness. He had two doubles and made an outstanding play on defense.
After six seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Franco was not offered a contract after the 2019 season and signed a one-year, $2.95 million deal with Kansas City for 2020. He wasn’t offered a contract by the Royals on December 2nd, exactly a year after he and the Phillies parted ways.
Franco, who played in all 60 games for Kansas City in 2020, hit .278 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs and a .778 OPS.
In 2016, Franco had career highs of 25 home runs and 88 RBIs for the Phillies. He hit .255. A year later, he hit 24 homers, drove in 76 runs and had a .230 average. In 2017, Franco hit .270 with a .780 OPS, hitting 22 home runs and producing 68 RBIs.
Franco’s non-tender came after the 2018 season when hit .234 with 17 homers and 56 RBIs. His OPS dropped to .705.
His defensive metrics at third aren’t strong. Franco’s career defensive WAR is -2.9.