Batting Seventh: 3B Maikel Franco
Here’s the second free agent addition to this lineup. The Brewers need an addition at third base. Currently, Luis Urias is penciled in there on the depth chart, but he’s in line for a big battle for the starting shortstop job with Orlando Arcia. Urias also isn’t much of a power threat, but Maikel Franco is.
Franco put up a strong season in Kansas City, playing in all 60 games. In those 60 games, Franco had a .278/.321/.457 slash line with eight homers and a 109 OPS+.
He’s not a big OBP guy, and he doesn’t draw a lot of walks, but Franco also doesn’t strike out much either and has 15-25 HR a season potential.
The Brewers need some thump at the third base position and that’s something Franco provides. The free agent market is thin on options that can either have a big impact or be in the Brewers price range. Guys like Justin Turner or DJ LeMahieu would help, but will cost far more than the Brewers can afford.
Of the remaining options, Franco probably has the most impactful bat and he should be in the Crew’s price range. He’s also among the youngest options at the position on the market.
Defensively, Franco isn’t the best third baseman and he has an extremely limited range. But with either Orlando Arcia or Luis Urias at shortstop, his poor defense can be somewhat mitigated. He also has some experience at first base and can fill in at the other corner spot if needed.
He was non-tendered by the Phillies after 2019 and signed with the Royals for $2.95MM last year. The Royals just non-tendered him a few weeks ago, making him a free agent for the second time.
The Brewers should be able to bring him in on a short-term deal and plug this hole. He provides thump at the bottom of the order and contact ability. Not having enough guys with the ability to just put the ball in play is part of what hurt the Brewers in 2020, which makes Franco a good pickup to make and slot in the seventh spot.