Perhaps no player on the current team produces such a divisive range of reactions as Maikel Franco. His .280/.343/.497 line of 2015 seems much longer ago, while is most recent line of .230/.281/.409 is difficult to swallow. He’s only 25, and yet he only seems to have regressed far beyond any normal expectations. There’s still hope, but there’s also a swing that produces weak contact and frustrating results. Some fans want to give him another shot. Others are ready to throw him away forever.
This offseason represents an opportunity for the Phillies to decide how Franco fits into their future. They could offer him one more shot by keeping his third base spot alone and promising he gets the reps. Doing this would basically tell Franco and everyone else that while time may be running out, the organization still has faith and is exercising patience.
The Phils could go outside the organization to challenge or unseat Franco. They could nab someone like Todd Frazier in free agency, or they could pull off a trade that brings them a third baseman. This move would ostensibly end Franco’s reign at the hot corner, though it’s possible a Frazier or someone could move to first base and other moves would follow.
Then there are in-house options. JP Crawford played some third base (and well) last season. Scott Kingery got some reps there in Lehigh Valley. Freddy Galvis could slide over there without much difficulty. Any of these options signifies a possible upgrade, though nothing is promised.
With the latter options, the Phils would have to do something with Franco. His value is low, so would the Phillies really decide that this player, who they’ve groomed and developed for so long, is worth zero and trade him for cash or some minor league filler?
I’m under the impression that the Phils are going to be a little more patient with Franco. With a new coaching staff and new approaches, maybe they give him until midseason to turn it around. If not, fine, cut bait and start thinking about Manny Machado or Josh Donaldson.
But some fans would rather the Phils just sever that leash now.
Where do you stand? Would you want to give Franco another couple hundred plate appearances? Are you ready to move on?