Many Philadelphia Phillies fans were expecting to witness the struggles of a young baseball team, but they weren’t expecting such a dark and disappointing stretch on the long road of rebuilding. The much-needed rebuild is not going as planned, and that is trouble for Philadelphia fans.
Philadelphia is a city based around sports. If our sports teams struggle, then so do we. Go to a bar in our city and expect to talk about the Eagles, the Phillies, the Process, or the Flyers. This summer’s conversation is based on the regression of key cogs in our young team. Specifically, Maikel Franco.
Franco was a very promising prospect two years ago. This year is a different story. Franco has struggled this season, and that is putting it lightly.
The Phillies were counting on Franco to lead the team through the 2017 baseball season, but he has failed on that front. Franco still possesses the raw talent, but he is unable to use it properly. He will occasionally show his potential before swinging out of his shoes, or his batting helmet, on an out of the zone off-speed pitch.
There is a good chance that readers of this blog have stopped watching the Phillies entirely, so allow me to shock you with the awful batting average of Mr. Maikel Franco.
That’s right. Franco is hitting .217 on the season.
Regression is common for young baseball players, but this much regression by a player who was thought to be a cornerstone of the rebuild is concerning. Phillies fans have seen this before. Domonic Brown was an All-Star in 2013 before crashing to a halt the next two years with the Phillies. Now, Brown is floating around somewhere in the minors.
Baseball is weird, and it’s as simple as that. Sometimes guys just regress with no real explanation. The concern is that all of our key prospects that we have acquired over the past few years will turn into Domonic Brown.
At this point, I am out on Maikel Franco. I think that Phillies would be smart to try and find value before the trade deadline. I wouldn’t want to trade him for pennies on the dollar, but I would easily trade him if the value can be found.
That being said, I still think Franco can be a solid baseball player. I don’t think he is what we thought he would be, and my hope is that other teams might still be high on the 24-year-old third baseman.
If the Phillies can’t get good value for Franco, then I suggest we keep him and try to turn his young career around with good coaching. I don’t want him gone for the sake of being gone, I want him traded only if the Phillies get a good return.
The trade deadline is on July 31st. I expect the Phillies to be pretty busy sellers during the deadline, but all we can do is wait and see.