Would the Phillies swap Franco to San Diego for a pitcher?
Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco is generating interest from the San Diego Padres, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Former Phillies hitting coach Matt Stairs serves in the same capacity in San Diego, and could be one of the driving forces behind the Padres interest.
Stairs worked as the Phillies hitting coach in 2017 under Pete Mackanin, but was not retained by Gabe Kapler the following season. San Diego is hitting .235 on the season, just two points better than Philadelphia’s under hitting coach John Malle.
Franco is hitting just .255 with nine home runs this season and was being transitioned to a bench role prior to J.P. Crawford breaking his hand.
The Padres are in dead-last in a highly-competitive National League West with a 35-44 record. They’re expected to be sellers at the July trade deadline with valuable pieces such as closer Brad Hand.
The 28-year-old Hand has three years on a team-friendly deal and leads baseball with 21 saves.
Rosenthal also said the Phillies would have to acquire an infielder if they move Franco due to Crawford’s broken hand. Chase Headley makes the most sense as a glove off the bench, making just $500,000 on a one-year deal.
It’s unlikely the Padres would return shortstop Freddy Galvis, who the Phillies sent to them in exchange for pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos this winter. De Los Santos has been a rising star in the organization pitching for Lehigh Valley with a 1.63 ERA in 13 starts.
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Philadelphia could also show interest in bringing back catcher A.J. Ellis, who played 11 games for Philadelphia in 2016 after being acquired in the Carlos Ruiz deal. He’d be an upgrade over Andrew Knapp, who has minor league options, and a veteran voice in the ear of Jorge Alfaro.
Moving Franco makes sense for Philadelphia, and former general manager and current Sirius XM front office analyst Jim Bowden says the organization has had conversations regarding Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas, Josh Donaldson, and Adrian Beltre.
Some still see tremendous potential in Franco, who has yet to play 500 major league games. Analysts like Bowden believe Franco has reached his ceiling as a 25 home run bat who hits .240.
If San Diego greatly values Franco, he could be the big piece in a deal for Hand to lock down the back end of the bullpen.