Perhaps the most frustrating player in Phillies history, Maikel Franco could find himself playing for a new club next year. Anointed a savior for the offense the second he arrived in Philadelphia, the former top prospect has been anything but. He’s proven to be what he is after 500 major league games: a .250 hitter who can crush 20-25 home runs a season.
Everyone in the Phillies organization from Charlie Manuel to Mike Schmidt to Gabe Kapler believes Franco can be a superstar and perennial MVP candidate. But at some point, you have to move on and hope for a quality return.
What that return could be for Franco is a large unknown considering his performance and how well he projects as a player. If another organization sees him as a player they can mold into their own MVP candidate, then they’ll pay top dollar for the 25-year-old. If no one see’s him to be anything more than he’s proven to be, then the Phillies will likely get a mediocre player in return, perhaps a solid number three starter.
Franco’s future depends on Manny Machado, who sounds dead set on playing shortstop. Even if Machado signs, it’s possible the Phillies give J.P. Crawford a shot at third. Once a top prospect in baseball, Crawford has been marred by injuries, but has shown an excellent glove across the infield. He’s played only 70 major league games thus far and has gotten a fraction of the chances Franco has.
Since returning from his latest injury Crawford is hitting .318 over 13 games with four extra base hits. Crawford has historically struggled at the plate every time he moves up through the organization, and his batting average in September could be a sign he’s turned the corner.