Julio Franco was still playing in the majors at age 48–and still playing really well at age 46–and now seven years after retiring he’s ready to put on a uniform again to play some independent ball.
According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas the now 55-year-old Franco will serve as a player-manager for the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United Baseball League, with his first game slated for next Tuesday.
Franco is planning to play just one homestand, but as someone who’s still holding out hope that Jamie Moyer might take the mound again somewhere I think it’s pretty cool.
Here’s the official press release, which includes Franco saying that he looks forward to working with “the younger players.” Because there can’t be any older players, really.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.