Once again, the San Diego Padres have been linked to Phillies’ third baseman Maikel Franco. The power-hitting right-hander could be an attractive piece for the Padres as they look for an option at third base for the 2019 season and beyond.
The San Diego Padres are rummaging around the MLB General Managers Meeting in Carlsbad searching for a third baseman. Or at least that is what the rumors are.
Manny Machado talk has surfaced to some degree, but is proving to be a pipe dream more than anything for Padre fans. Machado would be brought in to play short, but recent news indicates that the Padres will not be suitors for the free agent when it is all said and done.
Recently Maikel Franco‘s name has been linked to the team as the Phillies look to restructure their roster.
The Padres are known to have talked about the third baseman in the past with the Philadelphia, but nothing had ever gotten going on the trade front. We do know that Preller has some interest in him, depending on the cost. This could be something to monitor moving forward as this winter unfolds.
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) November 8, 2018
The Padres are probably intrigued with the 26-year-old Franco. He has plenty of upside, but has never quite put it all together. There are some whispers that the Phillies are done waiting and would like to just move on. With three years of team control before free agency, this is just the type of young, controllable player the Padres covet.
A.J. Preller and the Padres have the depth to make a trade as the farm system is full and the team also has major league players/trade chips that could be of interest to the Phillies. This could happen if the Padres truly want to work with Franco on his development.
Digesting the third baseman’s numbers, you see that he has an unusual batting line. Throughout his career, the right-handed hitter has had issues hitting left-handed pitching. In 483 at-bats he owns a .707 OPS and a .230/.297/.410 batting line. Compare that to a .252/.303/.435 slash line and a .749 career OPS against right-handed hitters. Usually, right-handed power hitters eat up left-handed pitching.
Franco was decent last year, but not spectacular. He put up a .270/.314/.467 batting line (.780 OPS) in 131 games and 433 at-bats. He missed time with leg and shoulder injuries and never really seemed to have his full health going for him.
Defensively, he is below average to average at the hot corner. He can seem lost at times and has suspect footwork around the bag. His glovework is not what makes him an interesting trade subject. It’s the bat. The free swinger does not strike out very often, but can get too pull-happy and out of his element with his swing. Maikel Franco has the power to use the right field gap, but he struggles to let the ball travel in the zone. With minor adjustments, he has the ability to be an offensive force.
If the Padres can acquire Franco at a decent price, then they should be all in. It appears the team has moved on from Christian Villanueva and Wil Myers at third, so somebody will be required to fill the position in 2018. There is an outside chance that Myers remains at the hot corner, but that all depends on what happens in the trade front over the next several weeks. Adding a player like Maikel Franco and potentially letting him grow on the roster is a decent plan for success. Again, though, it surely comes down to cost as the Padres can hardly afford giving up their top prospects unless it is for a bonafide ace.