MLB rumors: Marlins and Rays are interested in Juan Francisco

Thearon W. Henderson

Looking to clear up salary space, Atlanta could use Francisco as a trade chip.

The Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays could both find themselves in the market for third baseman Juan Francisco, according to reports. Francisco, who batted .234 in 93 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2012, may be an expendable piece of the Braves' roster if Atlanta tries to further boost its outfield. The Braves recently signed B.J. Upton to play center field. It's believed that Atlanta could move left fielder Martin Prado to third base and use Francisco as a trading piece for another outfielder. Miami and Tampa Bay appear to be interested trade suitors.

Francisco has played four years in the majors. He made his debut for Cincinnati and played three seasons with the Reds before moving to Atlanta. Francisco's 93 appearances in 2012 nearly tripled his previous high of 36 in 2010. He made $480,000 with Atlanta in 2012, according to Baseball Reference.

Miami appears to be looking for a steady solution at third base. The Marlins have not had a third baseman with more than 130 appearances in a season since Miguel Cabrera in 2007, according to the Miami Herald. If he's moved to Tampa, Francisco would figure to play behind Rays star Evan Longoria.

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