Phillies trade rumors: Expect Maikel Franco to be traded

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 24: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies is warned by home plate umpire Pat Hoberg #31 for calling time too late in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on August 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The players are wearing special jerseys as part of MLB Players Weekend. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 24: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies is warned by home plate umpire Pat Hoberg #31 for calling time too late in the sixth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on August 24, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The players are wearing special jerseys as part of MLB Players Weekend. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, it is extremely likely that the Phillies will trade Maikel Franco this offseason.

Considering that the Phillies are looking to make an upgrade on the left side of the infield this offseason via free agency, there will be a logjam at the position once a signing is made. This will leave someone on the outside looking in, and that person appears to be Maikel Franco.

According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, a Franco trade is likely to happen. In fact, Franco expects it to happen:

"Meanwhile, third baseman Maikel Franco is pretty much a sure bet to be traded, and he knows that. According to sources, there is a deal to be made with San Diego. The Padres have long liked Franco, who finished first in batting average (.270), second in OPS (.780) and third in homers (22) for the Phillies in 2018."

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Philadelphia and San Diego made a deal last offseason to send then-starting shortstop Freddy Galvis to the Padres for pitching prospect Enyel De Los Santos. De Los Santos went on to post strong numbers for Triple-A Lehigh Valley and make his major-league debut. A similar deal seems likely for Franco.

Since his first full season in 2016, Franco has been a largely disappointing player. He was the No. 3 prospect in the organization after the 2014 season behind Aaron Nola and J.P. Crawford. In his rookie year in 2015, Franco had a .280/.343/.497 line with a 129 wRC+ and 1.9 wins above replacement, the best marks of his career.

In the three years since Franco’s numbers have been okay but never lived up to his rookie year. In 437 games from 2016 to 2018, he has 71 home runs, 232 runs batted in, and a 92 OPS+. 2018 was the first season Franco managed an OPS+ above 100 since his rookie season.

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Looking towards 2019, it was hard to find a spot on the roster for Franco. The team would like to have Rhys Hoskins back at first base after being one of the worst defensive outfielders in the league last year. That would dislodge Carlos Santana, who still has two years left on his contract he signed last offseason. Santana played some third base at the end of the 2018 season with Franco injured, and the team liked what they saw.

Another option would be to trade Santana to make room for Hoskins. Salisbury also reported that the team is willing to move Santana, even though it means they showing they probably shouldn’t have signed him. They are fine with doing that if it means getting Hoskins back at first.

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Salisbury’s recent report now confirms that Franco will not only lose his starting job next year, but he also won’t even be in Philadelphia to claim it.