Remember all that talk about a right elbow issue potentially derailing the Mariners’ new seven-year, $175 million contract extension with staff ace Felix Hernandez? Don’t feel too bad if not because it’s a distant memory for the two main parties involved.
According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told reporters on Wednesday that Felix got a “clean bill of health” from Mariners doctors during his pre-signing physical. “Our doctors were very satisfied,” said Jack Z.
So the elbow thing was either extremely minor or a negotiating tactic. Whatever the case, the M’s have finalized the record extension and will hand the ball to “King Felix” on Opening Day against the A’s.
The 26-year-old righty from Venezuela is now the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history.
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.