It has not been an ideal start to the week for Maikel Franco.
A report from Jon Morosi of the MLB Network and Fox Sports says the Phillies third baseman was not in the lineup and unavailable for tonight’s winter league playoff game in the Dominican Republic.
This news wouldn’t raise much of an eyebrow if it didn’t come on the heels of news over the weekend that Franco was going to be suspended for the game after reportedly being seen partying at 6am on the morning of the team’s playoff game, scheduled to get underway 10 hours later, at 4pm.
Franco and a few other teammates were initially suspended for three games for a “violating the team’s discipline code.” That suspension, however, was later rescinded by the team, and Franco was eligible to play in Monday’s playoff game.
Maikel Franco's suspension was lifted by los Gigantes del Cibao, per @ESPNDeportes, but he is not in the Gigantes' lineup tonight, according to the @MLB.com boxscore. Moises Sierra, who was suspended (and reinstated) with Franco, *is* playing. @LasMayores— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 8, 2018
The Dominican Winter League playoffs are serious business in Franco’s home country, and the social media attention is certainly not ideal for a player who is looking to bounce back after a subpar 2017.
Still just 25, Franco hit .230/.281/.409 last season, with 24 home runs and an fWAR of -0.5. He is still penciled in as the everyday starter at third base next season for the Phillies, but his future is in doubt with future free agents Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson potential targets for the team after the 2018 season.
It appears as if Franco’s time in the DR is over.
This may be best for all involved. Hopefully Franco will be ready to roll for spring training next month in Clearwater.