Royals finalize one-year deal with 3B Franco

December 27th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have talked internally this offseason about finding ways to lengthen their lineup. They may have done so with the signing of former Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco.

The club officially announced the one-year contract, which was reported earlier this month, on Friday after Franco passed his physical. The Royals’ 40-man roster is officially full.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore and his staff had been in the market for a cost-efficient third baseman signing. The Royals, sources told, signed Franco for $2.95 million in base salary, with an additional $1.05 million in performance bonuses.

The Royals also have club control of Franco for two years -- he will be arbitration eligible after the 2020 season.

“It’s the type of deal we need to be making,” Moore said. “We’ve got a guy who’s motivated and hungry to play in Kansas City. We’re excited to have him. With the way the division is going, we can’t afford to have any dead spots in the lineup, and this lengthens our lineup.”

Franco, 27, hit 71 home runs from 2016-18 before falling off to 17 home runs and 56 RBIs with a .234 average in 2019.

Franco is expected to become the everyday third baseman for the Royals, which will push Hunter Dozier from third base to right field, though Dozier also can play some first base.

In that scenario, super utility man Whit Merrifield would become the everyday center fielder. Alex Gordon has not indicated he will come back for the 2020 season but if he does, he would become the left fielder.

Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips, both of whom are out of options, would become primarily backups in the outfield -- each can play all three positions.

Jorge Soler will serve primarily as the designated hitter.

“We’ve talked a lot about how the versatility of Dozier and Merrifield can help us with our lineup and this is an example,” Moore said. “That versatility allows us to sign a player like Maikel. Dozier is an elite athlete and he can play third, first and right field.”

An everyday lineup could look like this:

Whit Merrifield -- CF
Adalberto Mondesi -- SS
Hunter Dozier -- RF
Jorge Soler -- DH
Salvador Perez -- C
Alex Gordon -- LF
Maikel Franco -- 3B
Ryan O'Hearn -- 1B
Nicky Lopez -- 2B