Orioles officially sign Maikel Franco to one-year deal, send Hunter Harvey to 60-day IL

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General manager Mike Elias discusses the Maikel Franco signing, Hunter Harvey’s oblique injury, and other roster considerations.

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The Orioles announced Tuesday that they have signed third baseman Maikel Franco (Michael Fraun-CO) to a one-year contract for the 2021 season.

Franco, 28, appeared in all 60 games for the Kansas City Royals during the 2020 season, making 51 starts at third base, eight starts as the designated hitter, and one start at first base. He batted .278/.321/.457 (62-for-223) with 16 doubles, eight home runs, 23 runs scored, and 38 RBI. His 16 doubles, 24 extra-base hits, and 38 RBI led the Royals, and his 62 hits were the second-most on the club. Among American League leaders, Franco’s 16 doubles ranked tied for third and his 20 two-out RBI ranked fourth. He recorded 51 hits and 14 doubles while playing third base in 2020, the fifth-most and third-most respectively by a third baseman in the majors. He posted a .952 fielding percentage in his 51 games at third base, including turning an American League-high-tying 17 double plays as a third baseman.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Franco was originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies on January 13, 2010 as an International free agent. Franco was signed by current Orioles Senior Director, International Scouting, Koby Perez. He made his Major League debut on September 2, 2014 and spent his first six Major Leagues seasons with the Phillies before playing last season for the Royals. Franco has appeared in 716 career games and is a career .252/.304/.433 (645-for-2561) hitter with 126 doubles, 110 home runs, 302 runs scored, and 381 RBI. He has appeared in 657 games (638 starts) at third base and 13 games (8 starts) at first base and has a career .958 fielding percentage.

To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Hunter Harvey has been placed on the 60-day Injured List (left oblique strain).