May 25, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Scoreboard reflects Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Josh Beckett (61) (not pictured) no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Dodgers defeated the Phillies, 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

TBOH Debate: Have the Philadelphia Phillies reached rock bottom and is it time for Maikel Franco?

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Every week, the writers of That Ball’s Outta Here debate the key issues facing the Philadelphia Phillies.  Joining me this week are Spencer Bingol, Emily Gruver, and Michael Lecke. We will discuss if being no-hit was rock bottom for the Phillies offense and if the Maikel Franco era should soon be upon us.

Is being no-hit by Josh Beckett rock bottom for the Phillies offense?

Spencer

I saw a really astonishing statistic shortly after the no-hitter, that the Phillies had been shut out in five of their last ten home games to that point. Image-wise, and emotion-wise, it’s rock bottom, but in all honesty it’s not straying too far from the course.

Emily

Definitely. For a 34-year old that has been inconsistent for a majority of his career, it’s just so frustrating. This team is just so inconsistent.

Mike

Well, they certainly can’t record any fewer hits. The Phillies have a number of guys who are under-performing at the moment, so I think they will improve a bit as the season progresses. They’re not going to be one of the league’s best offenses, but they won’t be getting shut out at least once a week anymore.

Michael

Rock bottom is when purges take place. So the Phillies haven’t sniffed rock bottom yet.

Finishing in last place might do the trick, but this team is not going to quit before June just because one night in May they failed to get a hit. There’s more fight in them that. There’s some pride left. There might not be enough talent on the roster to make a serious run but the effort is there.

Maikel Franco. Image Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Should Maikel Franco be called up to replace the injured Cody Asche?

Spencer

No, that’d be either a panic move, or a cheap attempt to improve attendance. Maikel Franco’s timetable is the one that takes precedence over the immediate needs of the Major League club. The benefits of allowing him to develop fully, before calling him up, vastly outweigh the 15 or so games played by a player who isn’t yet ready to face major league pitching. You wouldn’t even see a performance boost from the position before Asche is healthy again.

Franco also would then have to be added to the 40-man roster before he needs to be, he’s at risk of becoming a super-two arbitration player by bringing him up before the deadline, and it’s possible that this hampers his development. Don’t do it.

Emily

No, I think the Phillies have better options. Franco is hitting just .235 at the Triple-A level and I don’t think he’s ready just yet. The Phils have a few other bench/utility men that they can plug in there.

Mike

The Phillies have chosen to use Cesar Hernandez at third for the time being. The trouble is, Hernandez isn’t providing them much offense, and he’s not good enough defensively to compensate.

At some point, the Phillies may feel they simply need more offense, and replacing Hernandez with Franco may be the easiest way to get it.

They can say that Franco isn’t ready, and that’s probably the case. But if they wait until he’s ready, it may be way too late to help the Phillies.

Michael

Yes, Maikel Franco should be called up while Cody Asche recovers. The energy and excitement of youth could invigorate the clubhouse and fan base. Even if he plays well, he should return to Lehigh Valley as soon as Cody is back in playing shape.

By mid-summer it will be clear who to play in the Fall. Third base is not the biggest problem. The bullpen and the outfield are much bigger problems. There’s no reason to rush Franco unless he forces the issue with stellar play.

What do you think? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.

And make sure to follow us all on Twitter:

That Ball’s Outta Here (@FS_TBOH)

Spencer Bingol (@SpencerBingol)

Emily Gruver (@EmilyGruver3)

Michael Lecke (@Bee5pace)

Mike Lacy (@MikeLacy_215)

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