Kansas City Royals make inevitable move of signing Maikel Franco

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Miami Marlins during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 29, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Miami Marlins during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 29, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Some things just seem destined to happen. The Kansas City Royals signing Maikel Franco is one of those.

The Kansas City Royals need help virtually everywhere on the roster. The lineup had more holes than the Swiss cheese on my sandwich. The rotation may as well have been a series of batting practice machines, with the bullpen somehow being worse. However, for all of those openings, third base was one of the few reasonably productive areas, as Hunter Dozier had finally lived up to his potential, and was set to man the hot corner for years to come.

So, naturally, the Royals went out and signed a third baseman. Former Phillies whipping boy Maikel Franco has signed a one year deal worth $2.95 million, with a chance to earn another $1.05 million in incentives. In theory, this is not a terrible deal, as it gives the Royals a chance to see if the former top prospect can live up to his own potential. If so, they would have another two years of team control.

The problem is that third base wasn’t a need. With this signing, the Royals will be playing musical chairs with the lineup, as Dozier will be heading to right field. While his production was above average at third, he now becomes a subpar offensive right fielder.

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With that move, other players now find themselves in a different role. Whit Merrifield, who was the Royals primary second baseman and spent some time in right, will now head to center. Jorge Soler, the Royals primary right fielder in 2019, is now going to be their primary DH. That is, if he is not traded.

These moves around the diamond would make sense if Franco was the second coming of Manny Machado. However, he is not. Last season, Franco posted a .234/.297/.409 batting line, hitting 17 homers and 17 doubles in 428 plate appearances. His lifetime 93 OPS+ is not much better.

And then there is the question of what this signing means for other players on the Royals roster. At some point, they need to find out what they have in Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips. Unless they have decided already that neither player is going to be a part of the future without giving either much of a look at the major league level. And for what? Another subpar hitter who is barely a major league caliber player.

Royals top ten prospects. dark. Next

As the Kansas City Royals continue to muddle through their rebuild, they will need to take fliers on once highly regarded players that could be flipped for other long term assets. Maikel Franco would seem to fit that bill. The problem is – he just does not fit this roster.