Orioles 'close' to getting Millwood from Rangers

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Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are “very close” to acquiring Kevin Millwood from the Rangers in exchange for Chris Ray. This morning the newspaper noted that Baltimore would assume the bulk of Millwood’s remaining contract, which pays him $12 million in 2010, so that’s presumably why Texas is willing to part with him for a relatively minimal return.
Ray was once a very promising young reliever and took over closing duties in Baltimore as a 24-year-old in 2006, but missed all of 2008 following Tommy John elbow surgery and struggled in his return, posting a 7.27 ERA in 43.1 innings. He’s arbitration eligible for the first time and was thought to be a non-tender candidate, so while not without value to the Rangers acquiring Ray seems secondary to shedding Millwood’s salary.
Millwood has gone 48-46 with a 4.57 ERA for the Rangers since signing a five-year, $60 million deal as a free agent in December of 2005, including 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA over 31 starts in 2009. His poor 123/71 K/BB ratio suggests a regression is likely for 2010, but he figures to be good for 180 innings of league-average pitching and Baltimore can certainly use the rotation help.

Report: Giants showed some interest in Phillies’ Maikel Franco at Winter Meetings

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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.

Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.

Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.

Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.