Third Baseman Maikel Franco
Maikel Franco isn’t quite the same caliber of extension candidate as Eickhoff, Nola, or Neris. His 2016 season was a letdown compared to his rookie year when he hit 14 home runs and drove in 50 runs along with posting a .280/.343/.497 line in 80 games.
However, Franco may earn an extension for simply being the best option for Philadelphia at third base within the organization. Their only legitimate third base prospect is Cole Stobbe, who was just drafted in 2016 and spent the entire year at shortstop in the Gulf Coast League. Barring another prospect moving to third, Franco will be there for the next few seasons.
But wait, “What about Manny Machado?’ some may ask. While the allure of one of the top third baseman in the game hitting free agency after 2018 may be worth planning for, free agency is never an exact science. Machado could very well sign somewhere else, blowing up the team’s plans at the position in one foul swoop. Plus, it is likely Machado would command more than $30 million a year, while an extension for Franco would be much cheaper.
Obviously Franco has to bounce back in 2017 and show he can sustain success for a full season. If he can do that, he may earn himself a shiny new deal.