Ricky Nolasco threw 104 innings with a 5.90 ERA before informing the Twins that he’d been pitching through elbow soreness since spring training. Now, after spending five weeks on the disabled list, he’s scheduled to rejoin the rotation Friday against the Royals.
Nolasco struck out eight batters in a minor-league rehab start Sunday at low Single-A, but also allowed three runs in 5.2 innings against hitters a decade his junior.
Nolasco was supposed to headline the Twins’ rebuilt rotation, but instead he hid an injury from the coaching staff and allowed opponents to hit .330 through 18 starts of a four-year, $49 million contract.
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.