The Royals agreed to sign third baseman Maikel Franco to a one-year, $2.95 million contract with up to $1.05 million in incentives, according to reports on Thursday afternoon. Franco is expected to be the Royals’ everyday third baseman in 2020 and could remain in Kansas City through 2021, as he has a year of arbitration eligibility remaining.
Now 27, Franco was once one of the Phillies’ top prospects and among the top 100 prospects in baseball — Baseball America ranked him third in the system and 56th overall after the 2014 season. But he never reached his lofty potential in Philadelphia. He hit well out of the gate, posting a 129 wRC+ in 335 PA in 2015, but has been unable to repeat those results in the years since. He hit relatively well in 2018, producing both a 105 wRC+ and one of the best bat flips of the year:
Franco demonstrated just enough promise to retain the starting job heading into 2019, when the Phillies had hoped to seriously contend for their first postseason appearance in eight years.
But rather than continue to take steps forward, Franco regressed, slashing just .234/.297/.409 with 17 home runs and a 70 wRC+ over 428 plate appearances. In 123…