Article by: Zach Henley
After Saturday night’s win, the Phillies decided to option third baseman Maikel Franco to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Along with the demotion, the team has activated utility player Brad Miller from the IL. Franco, 26, is hitting .231 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI’s. The move comes after the Phillies beat the visiting Chicago White Sox. Franco overall went 1-3 with a single. Philadelphia is currently third in the NL East, tied with the Washington Nationals and 7 games back from the division leading Atlanta Braves. Franco has proven that he has the power, averaging 25 home runs and 86 RBI’s. The Achilles heel for the third baseman is the average. Last season, Franco had a career high .277 and tallied 22 home runs and 68 RBI’s (min. 100 AB).
In my opinion, this is a smart move for the team and their potential playoff push. Franco has been struggling all season, and after a promising start hitting in the 8th spot, he’s been disappointing. With this move, a couple of scenarios happen. Scott Kingery gets the chance to play every day and he’s been very consistent all year. With his demotion, Franco can work on hitting and changing his stance or swing in time for the playoffs. One other area the team needs to focus on is the pitching. Aside from Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, the last three starters in the rotation are all up in the air. Nick Pivetta should stay in the bullpen with Vince Velasquez, and the team needs to work on finding a consistent third starter and finding a closer that can be reliable.
Along with free agency, the team needs to break the bank a little more and try to shoot for Gerrit Cole. The starter is going to be 29 and has a good second half of his career left. The state of the Phillies is still in the air, as it always is, and the team needs to focus on finding ways to win down the stretch and and hopefully squeak into the playoffs and attempt to do some damage.