Nick Masset is not close to returning from shoulder surgery

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Nick Masset missed all of last season with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery in September and the Reds reliever is behind schedule in his comeback, telling John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’s “had some small setbacks.”

Initially the Reds indicated that Masset would likely be ready for spring training, but so far he’s only advanced to throwing from 90 feet a few days per week and Fay says he “is a long way from resuming a normal spring training throwing schedule.”

Before the injury Masset was a good setup man for the Reds, averaging 74 innings with a 3.15 ERA from 2009-2011, and he’s under contract for $3.1 million this year.

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.