O’s sign Maikel Franco to 1-year deal

UPDATE: Maikel Franco will have a $800K salary and will receive $200K in incentives if he is traded, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. The Orioles have placed RHP Hunter Harvey on the 60-day IL to make room on the 40-man roster.

The Baltimore Orioles are finalizing a deal with third baseman Maikel Franco, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Franco, a native of the Dominican Republic, signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010 as an international free agent. He would make his big league debut in 2014 and would stay in the Phillies organization until after the 2019 season.

In 2020, the now 28-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Royals, where he had a very successful season hitting .278/.321/.457 with eight home runs and 38 RBI.

The O’s are looking to build a little more depth at the corner infield spots, and Franco fits that mold. He is someone who can play both third and first base, while also filling in the designated hitter role from time to time.

It looks like the main competition for third base will be Franco and Rio Ruiz. The 27-year-old Ruiz has just a .229/.299/.393 line across 617 plate appearances over the past two seasons. Rio definitely has the edge defensively at the hot corner, while Franco’s bat is superior.

The move will all but confirm that No. 26 overall prospect, Rylan Bannon, will begin the year at Triple-A Norfolk to get more reps. Bannon is just 1-for-12 with seven walks so far in Grapefruit League play. This move gives the team another potential trade chip to float come the Trade Deadline.

Franco is a career .252/.304/.433 hitter with 110 home runs and 94 OPS+ over parts of seven big league seasons. He will be reunited with his former Phillies teammate Freddy Galvis on the left side of the infield.

The Baltimore Battery will update this article once a deal is officially complete, with full numbers of the contract and other information.

All of us at The Baltimore Battery would like to welcome Maikel to Birdland!

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