It’s time for the Phillies to move on from Maikel Franco
As part of FanSided’s MLB offseason simulation, we had the opportunity to make several moves for the Phillies both on the free agent and trade market. Unfortunately, we were only able to get one trade across during the limited window, but it’s a deal we felt confident making.
A couple of teams looked at Maikel Franco, but the Kansas City Royals came out early and got a deal done involving one of the Phillies former top prospects.
Here’s the breakdown of this mock trade made with our sister site, Kings of Kauffman.
Philadelphia had to sweeten the pot just a bit and throw in Drew Anderson, who likely doesn’t have a future with the club. After six years in the minors Anderson made his Major League debut in 2017 and allowed six earned runs in 2.1 innings. He made one spot-start in 2018 with Philadelphia, but the organization’s 20th overall prospect doesn’t have a role beyond Lehigh Valley, thus making him expendable.
The return was intriguing for Franco and Anderson, starting with pitcher Brad Keller. An eighth-round pick in 2013, Keller was the organization’s seventh-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline going into the 2017 season.
Keller made his major league debut for the Royals in 2018 and split time between the rotation and bullpen. In 41 games, 20 of which were starts, Keller went 9-6 and had a 3.08 ERA. He threw an eight-inning, one-run complete game in a 1-0 loss in Seattle, his sixth major league start.
The Phillies have a lot of guys (Eickhoff, Eflin, Velasquez) who could swing between the bullpen and rotation, but Keller might be able to stick with the rotation.
Carlos Hernandez was rated by MLB Pipeline as the Royals’ 12th-best prospect and according to his scouting report, one club official thought so highly of Hernandez that he projected him to be their best pitching prospect.
For the Phillies to potentially get an organization’s best pitching prospect for Franco is huge. The righty turns 22 in March and had a 3.29 ERA in Single-A Lexington last season. He was signed for $15,000 out of Venezuela at the age of 19, but his fastball ranges from 94-97 MPH.
On the 20-80 grading scale, his fastball was given a 60, his changeup a 55, and his curve a 50. Overall he received a 45, which isn’t fantastic, and his control was rated as a 50.
MLB Pipeline projects Hernandez to be a middle of the rotation arm with some years still left to go in the minors.
Burt was a fourth-round pick in 2014 who makes up for his 5’9 stature with speed. He stole 32 bags in Advanced-A Wilmington while hitting .280 with 14 doubles and seven triples. Burt’s on-base percentage finished at .367, showing his ability to get on base despite being given the lowest possible power rating on the aforementioned scouting scale.
The Royals’ 28th-overall prospect according to Pipeline, Burt projects to be a utility player with experience across the infield. He’s primarily played second base, but has seen time at third and short.
If he can work his way to the big leagues Burt would be a natural bench player with speed and versatility.
The Phillies will never recoup the investment put into Franco over the past eight years, but getting two young pitcher and a potential bench player with speed could pay off in the long-run.