Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel is back from the disabled list after missing the past six weeks with a strained forearm, although manager Buck Showalter hasn’t said for sure yet how he plans to use him.
Hammel was one of the Orioles’ best starters last season, throwing 118 innings with a 3.43 ERA and 113/42 K/BB ratio, but he posted a 5.20 ERA in 21 starts this year before being shut down in late July.
He threw a combined 6.2 innings of one-run ball in two appearances in the minors to convince the Orioles he’s ready, but may not be fully stretched out to make a normal start quite yet.
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.