It could have been great.
Maikel Franco’s Phillies career came to an end just ahead of the start of the Winter Meetings when the team declined arbitration and made him a free agent. This week, Franco signed a one-year, $3 million deal in which he will be the everyday third baseman for the Kansas City Royals.
On the latest edition of Continued Success, Justin Klugh and Liz Roscher make it a point to wish Franco well, and wonder what could have been.
Things started off so promising for Franco, who hit .280/.343/.497 in 80 games his rookie season, with 14 homers and 50 RBIs. Expectations were sky high as it was hoped the Phillies had found a home grown bat for the middle of their order for years to come.
Fast forward four years later where, in 560 games and 2146 plate appearances, Franco hit .247/.299/.427 for the Phillies. He averaged 22 homers and 72 RBIs a season, and since 2016 was worth 0.1 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.
It’s understandable what the Royals are trying to do here. They’re hoping that Franco’s pitch selection will someday match his excellent bat-to-ball skills, because when he makes contact, Franco usually hits the ball hard somewhere. Unfortunately, very few players in baseball hit more balls on the ground than Franco, and the Phillies had simply run out of patience.
Nevertheless, Franco did give us some good times, including the highlight of the 2018 season.
Now, the team seems destined to go with Scott Kingery at third next year, although there is speculation that Chicago’s Kris Bryant and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado could be available via trade, an item also talked about on the latest episode of Continued Success.
Liz and Justin also chat about what we’re going to do now that so many free agents have signed so early in the off-season, and they look back at the 10-year anniversary of two huge trades, the deal to acquire Roy Halladay and the trade to send Cliff Lee to Seattle.