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Maikel Franco Rumored to Be 'More Than Available' in Trade from Phillies

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2017

Philadelphia Phillies' Maikel Franco fields a grounder during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Phillies 9-2. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies have made struggling third baseman Maikel Franco available in trade talks as MLB's hot stove heats up ahead of July's trade deadline.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe categorized Franco as "more than available," though it's unclear how much compensation the Phillies would want in return.

Franco, 24, is hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 runs batted in this season. His struggles have been a consistent drag on the Phillies' lineup, which currently sits 29th in runs scored and near the bottom in every major offensive category.

“We believe in him. We have confidence that he will [break out]. There are a lot of indicators, whether you’re looking at his exit velocities and launch angles,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said on Comcast SportsNet last month (h/t Matt Breen of Philly.com).

“Again, I don’t want to say he’s been a victim of bad luck by itself—it’s not the only thing but there are reasons to believe he can get out this. It could happen today, it could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, we don’t know."

The Phillies have kept him in the lineup despite his struggles to little positive effect. His .230 batting average in June is his best of the season, but Franco's defense has also not been on par with where it was a year ago. FanGraphs' formula measures him as a net offensive and defensive negative, and his -0.7 WAR is the worst among all qualifying third basemen.

Dangling Franco now would amount to a massive buy-low, so it would be a surprise to see him get traded. It's more likely the Phillies try sending him down to the minors to get the kinks worked out of his swing at some point. But if Franco is available at a low cost, other teams should definitely be kicking the tires. 

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