Phillies: Mock trade swaps Mike Moustakas for Maikel Franco, prospects
A big upgrade could come for the Phillies this month at the hot corner
It’s been 16 years since the Phillies traded Scott Rolen to the St. Louis Cardinals, and they still haven’t found a long-term answer at third base. Through the days of Placido Polanco, Pedro Feliz, Cody Asche, Michael Young, and David Bell the organization has been looking for the next Rolen or Mike Schmidt to present themselves.
When Maikel Franco arrived in 2014, many saw a star who could be the Phillies starting third baseman for the next 10 years. The Hall of Famer Schmidt has consistently called Franco a future MVP candidate, but the words have never materialized into to action or success on the field.
Franco has established himself as a player who can hit 20-25 home runs and hit .250 on a year to year basis, which isn’t horrible by any stretch. Set to turn 26 in August, it feels as if Franco has hit his ceiling with the Phillies organization.
Philadelphia has been connected to nearly every third baseman playing on an expiring contract as the trade deadline approaches. Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, and Manny Machado have been the headliners this summer, and it’s not unreasonable for the Phillies to acquire one of the three to make a push towards the playoffs.
Moustakas is a player we’ve highlighted for weeks as a thrifty addition, as long as his back holds up, for the Phillies compared to Machado, who has publically said he won’t sign an extension if traded, at least until after the season ends.
We’ve worked a mock trade with our Royals sister site Kings of Kauffman that would send Moustakas to Philadelphia as a legitimate upgrade for the Phillies, who sit just a game out of first place in the division going into Friday night.
While Franco and Moustakas’s raw numbers are similar, the power Moustakas brings with 13 more extra-base hits is key. His slugging percentage is .030 points higher, a major difference compared to Franco.
Even more in-depth, the Phillies will take Moustakas’s 1.9 WAR over Franco’s -.03 WAR any day of the week.
It’s hard to move on from Kilome, a top-10 prospect in the organization currently in Double-A. Some thought Kilome could make the jump to Philadelphia by the end of this year, but he’s struggled at times with the Reading Fightin’s. Still just 23-years-old, he’s making major adjustments in Reading and working with a 4.61 ERA in 16 starts.
Kilome has allowed seven home runs and hit eight batters, the second most among Eastern League pitchers, this year. His K:BB ratio is rough, and he averages a walk every other inning.
As for the player to be named later in the deal, the agreement was that none of the Phillies top-30 prospects would be on the list of options for Kansas City. That saves the likes of Nick Maton, J.D. Hammer, and Simon Muzziotti from being taken for a rental player.
Moustakas has a $15 million mutual option for next year with a $1 million buyout that many have suggested will not vest with Moustakas wanting to re-enter the free agent market. The World Champion took that chance last winter and wasn’t signed until mid-March.
Money is not an issue for the Phillies, who have less than $70 million committed to players next year. That number will change with players agreeing to arbitration deals and free agents coming in.
Philadelphia is set to going into this winter with the following players playing on pre-arbitration salaries: Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, J.P. Crawford, Zach Eflin, Jerad Eickhoff, and Jorge Alfaro.
Meanwhile, Aaron Nola, Aaron Altherr, and Vince Velasquez will be eligible for arbitration for the first time in their careers.
Even if Moustakas does take on the $15 million option and plays for the Phillies next year, hopefully coming off a playoff series, there’s still room for Manny Machado and a $300 million deal at shortstop.
Next: Phillies: Power Ranking Players from 2008
Overall, both the Phillies and Royals should walk away from this deal happy as their respective organizations begin different paths towards winning.