On September 1, the Phillies will call up a few players from their minor league system to join the big club for the last month of 2014.
There is nothing left to play for in the season's final month, other than to get a quick preview of some of the players who could assume important roles in 2015. The name that should be at the top of the list is the team's second-best position prospect, third baseman Maikel Franco.
Franco had a tough start to the year, but has caught fire over the last two months. And he's been especially hot over his last 10 games, hitting .436 with five home runs, three doubles, one triple and 13 RBIs. The 22-year-old has 16 home runs this year, four in his last five games and six in his last 14, including a grand slam last night. Earlier this week he hit for the cycle.
Maikel Franco since last Friday, in 6 games: .500/.500/1.167, 4 HR, 1 3B, 2 2B,— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) August 27, 2014
He's been kinda hot.
He seems like the perfect candidate for a September call-up, getting some time at third and first base. But apparently, the Phillies are worried there's no room at the inn for the young slugger, per Philly.com's Matt Gelb.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he does not want to "bring him up here just to sit around." Manager Ryne Sandberg said there was a preliminary discussion about September promotions without a Franco decision.
"The biggest thing for him is playing time," Amaro said, "and making sure this is the right thing, the right atmosphere and the right time. ... We'd like to assess some other things. There are a lot of different factors. We still have time to make a decision on it."
That assertion, of course, is rather amusing given the team's 60-72 record, their -69 run differential, and their last place position in the NL East standings. Also, the two players with whom Franco would be splitting time, Cody Asche and Ryan Howard, haven't exactly set the world on fire.
Can't have Maikel Franco come up, just isn't room for him in September amid all this EFFING AWESOME.— Dennis Deitch (@DennisDeitch) August 26, 2014
Of course, maybe there are real reasons not to bring him up.
@FelskeFiles Do you seriously want to let Ryne Sandberg and the rest of the coaching staff near him?— Liz Roscher (@lizroscher) August 27, 2014
Which is a fair point, given how much some in the clubhouse apparently think Sandberg is a doo-doo head.
Also, there is the issue with starting his arbitration clock, which while it wouldn't come close to triggering anything close to "Super 2" status for him, it does get the clock ticking. It also means that if the Phils wanted to keep that "seventh" year of control over Franco, they wouldn't be able to call him up until May of next year.
But that still seems like small potatoes.
The argument about playing time is a dumb one. Even if the Phils' worst case scenario comes true, that he gets only 10-20 plate appearances in September, that's still more than the zero he would get with the completion of the minor league season.
Plus, it would give the fans something to get excited about, which was certainly enough of a consideration when it came to extending all of the older veterans from the playoff clubs who probably should have been let go.
From what I can see, there isn't a good enough reason not to call him up. If I'm wrong, hit me up in the comments section below, because I don't see it. Playing time and starting his clock for one month of service time don't seem like good enough reasons to allow the kid to get his feet wet at the big league level for a month.