Maikel Franco signed last offseason with the Kansas City Royals, however, his stint in Kansas City has come to a close. The non-tender deadline has passed, and the Royals have decided not to offer Franco a contract.
Franco came to Kansas City from the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization and was a star prospect while coming up through the minors. After spending six years with the Phillies, he was non-tendered by them last year. Franco later signed a deal with the Royals for $2.95 million.
The non-tender deadline means that all MLB clubs can offer pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players contracts for the next season. Players during this period who do not get offered a contract become free agents.
Maikel Franco With the Royals
During the 2020 season, Franco was the everyday third-baseman for the Royals. In his first few games, Maikel Franco started off slow defensively, however, Franco ended the season with a .952 fielding percentage with Kansas City. At the plate, he had a solid season, batting .278, with eight home runs, and 38 RBIs. After struggling in Philly, Franco showed he could be a solid bat in the middle of the lineup.
Why Royals Non-Tendered Maikel Franco
The reason the Royals non-tendered Franco was because, with an arbitration hearing, Kansas City would have to pay Franco somewhere between $4.5M and $8M. Franco is a solid third baseman, but with only a 60-game season, some arbitration hearings would be altered. Maikel Franco’s arbitration hearing would have been fluctuated easily by seeing his stat line this year compared to a full season. Would Franco have kept that level of play at the plate if it was a 162-game regular season? Maybe, but he was not apart of Kansas City’s future plans to play the hot corner.
Who Takes Maikel Franco’s Place at Third?
The obvious answer for this would be Hunter Dozier. Dozier was the third-baseman for Kansas City in parts of 2018 and 2019. In 2020, Dozier was moved to the outfield and tried to fill the void in right, despite this, he made his way back into the infield at first base. Dozier seems like the likely candidate to move back to third for the 2021 season.
Lucius Fox, who was acquired by Kansas City back in August, has played some games at third in the minors, while in the Tampa Bay organization. Whit Merrifield will most likely be the everyday right-fielder, but he also has spent some time at third.
Kelvin Gutierrez has seen time at third, but not on a regular basis. Gutierrez played 18 games at third in 2019 while Hunter Dozier was on the IL. In 2020, he only played three games at third base. The safer option would be for Dozier to move to third, but Gutierrez could see some time there as well.
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