The Orioles’ beleaguered bullpen took yet another beating in last night’s blowout loss to the Nationals, so Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that they have decided to activate Alfredo Simon from the restricted list a day earlier than originally expected.
Simon was placed on the restricted list in the early part of spring training while he was being held as the prime suspect in the New Year’s Eve shooting death of Michel Castillo Almonte in the Dominican Republic. He will still have to stand trial eventually, though he hasn’t been formally charged and no trial date has been set.
The 30-year-old right-hander posted a 3.38 ERA and 17/5 K/BB ratio across 16 innings over three recent rehab starts with Double-A Bowie. While he led the Orioles with 17 saves last season, he is now expected to serve as a long reliever.
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.