As you’ve probably heard by now, Julio is really old. How old is he? So old that when he came up as a possibly 23-year-old shortstop, Cal Ripken had just been moved to the same position. He’s two years older than Cal Ripken! Who retired as an all-time legend at the end of the 2001 season!

Julio’s played 715 games at shortstop, 663 at second base, 366 at DH, and 319 at first. I can’t say for sure, but I doubt anyone else has ever done that. I wouldn’t want him in the middle infield now, but he still has his uses. He tattooed lefties last year for a .351/.446/.532 line. (He was basically useless — 243/.297/.379 — against righties.) He’s a pretty good glove at first base. He doesn’t pull the ball, ever, but as a righthanded hitter that makes him a good #2 hitter in some ways. Not a basestealer, obviously, but he still runs okay and is a smart baserunner. The glove is less valuable now that Adam LaRoche is the other half of the platoon… Julio was dreadful as a pinch-hitter last year, .237/.293/.263 in 38 AB… Needs 142 hits for 2500, and I wouldn’t bet against it — he probably needs two more seasons. Four runs away from 1200. He’s seventh in hits among active players (if Fred McGriff indeed plays this year).

Julio Franco Statistics –