Detroit Tigers: 3 Free Agents left to target before it’s to late

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Maikel Franco

The Detroit Tigers need to take a flier on third baseman Maikel Franco.  Franco had been granted his release from the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the start of last season’s COVID-19 shortened schedule.

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Franco struggled mightily with the bat in 2019, hitting just .234 with 17 home runs while driving in 56 runs.  That after the powerful third sacker hit .270 with 22 bombs and 68 RBI’s the year prior.  Franco has struggled to replicate his 2016 season, whereas a 23-year old launched 25 home runs and drove in 88 runs while stashing a respectable .255/.306/.427 line.

The 28-year old free agent seemed a bit rejuvenated last season with his new club, the Kansas City Royals.  With the Royals, Franco hit eight home runs and 38 RBIs in 60 contests.  Franco stashed a .278/.321/.457 line in 2020, with a WAR of 1.3 according to FanGraphs.

Last season Franco provided the Royals with a hard-hit ball rate of 32.8%, nearly a three-percent increase from his career average. I would like to see Franco better his launch angle to use his raw power to his advantage.  He’s produced a ground ball rate of 46% to a 36% fly-ball rate throughout his career.  If Franco were able to get more balls airborne, he’d have the potential to hit 30 home runs at the MLB level.

Franco has proven to be a valuable glove in the field, producing a career .957 fielding percentage at the hot corner.

As it stands, the Detroit Tigers are projected to start Isaac Paredes at third base, but he only hit .220 with one home run in 202 as a rookie.

Next. Robbie Grossman reunited with A.J. Hinch on two-year deal. dark

I expect Harold Castro to take his turn at the hot corner throughout the year. If Miguel Cabrera draws into the field at first, A.J. Hinch can slide Candelario across the diamond returning him to his natural spot on the field.