Let me start by answering the question first on behalf of the Phillies:
However, this is an intriguing thought- and could be a possibility. The Phillies are likely a team that is always looking at the free agency market. One of the somewhat more notable names remaining is their former third baseman, Maikel Franco.
Back in 2015, Franco began to build a legacy with the ball club. His 14 home runs in 80 games set him up to be an up-and-coming star in Philadelphia. He gained national recognition the following spring training as well. The right-handed hitter hit seven homers in 17 spring training games. During that spring, it was the most in the entire league, just two fewer than what Kris Bryant hit in his Rookie of the Year preamble the spring before. Expectations soon became sky-high for Franco.
The heavy hitter would go on to find his ceiling to be 25 home runs and a .270 batting average… but in two different seasons. After tearing the leather off the ball, he was humbled and brought back down to Earth for the remainder of his Philadelphia tenure.
Inconsistency was Franco’s biggest downfall. He consistently flashed his potential and would go through some crazy hitting stretches. However, for the most part, the third baseman has never been able to find a groove with the team. This led to his departure after the 2019 season, and he signed with the Royals for $2.95 million soon after. He did perform better in 2020. He had a line of .278/.321/.457 and hit eight home runs in 60 games. However, his six errors were tied second among third basemen.
The Royals ended up being the second team in as many years that did not give Franco a contract prior to his chance at arbitration. Now, the righty sits on the free-agent market again at 28 years old.
Does He Make Sense for the Phillies?
Again, this simply just does not make sense. For starters, third base is occupied by Alec Bohm. In the shortened season, the youngster played in 44 games. Here, he had a .338 batting average and four homers– putting him right into the mix for Rookie of the Year.
Along with this, it’s not even like the team could move Bohm somewhere else and fit Franco in at third. The infield is immensely crowded already. Didi Gregorius was brought back, while Jean Segura, Rhys Hoskins, and Alec Bohm will fill out the rest of the dirt. Scott Kingery will float around all of the positions as well.
If Franco were to be brought back, it would have to be for a minor league or bench role. However, this still wouldn’t be the smartest idea. For his career, he has not been the best pinch hitter. His six career hits in 36 at-bats as a pinch hitter shows this. His inability to play other infield positions, similar to Scott Kingery, devalues him for the Phillies even more.
The Phillies will likely do their due diligence, though. They are a team that is always surveying the free agency market. Dave Dombroski shouldn’t, and likely won’t even consider Franco as a legitimate contender to join the team this season- unless there is some crazy injury battle among the team.
Photo by: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire