In a move that’s a little bit of a stunner, the Phillies have optioned third baseman Maikel Franco to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, while Brad Miller has been activated from the IL.
Gabe Kapler told reporters prior to this afternoon’s game that a few factors went into the decision. Among them:
- Franco is a one position player, while Sean Rodriguez can play multiple positions in both the infield and outfield.
- Franco has been unable to hit left-handed pitching this season. He’s batting only .198 with a .638 OPS against LHP, while Rodriguez has posted a .306 average to go along with a .973 OPS.
- The addition of Corey Dickerson, along with the impending return of Jay Bruce from the IL, means the Phillies have a surplus of outfielders. Scott Kingery will come back to “the dirt,” as Kapler said, which means he will absorb bulk of playing time at third base.
Here’s Gabe on going with Rodriguez over Franco:
This felt like the appropriate time to make a move that’s very difficult for the clubhouse because we all care deeply about Maikel Franco, he’s an exceptional teammate, a great person,and we all love him, but we felt like the best roster for the Philadelphia Phillies had Sean Rodriguez on it right now because of his versatility and ability to play all over the diamond.
And here he is on why the team is rolling with Miller:
We have a left-handed power bat and on-base threat in Brad Miller. We definitely want to have that profile available on the bench.
Beyond the numbers, the move is interesting from a chemistry standpoint. Franco is a popular player in the Phillies clubhouse. Will some be angry over the move? Will others view it as a wake-up call? We’ll hear from some of those guys postgame.
Meanwhile, the decision to send down Franco could be construed as the team essentially closing the door on him – it’s hard to imagine that he’s the third baseman of the future after being sent down in the middle of a wild card race -but Kapler did say Franco is an injury away from a call up, while he certainly would return when the roster expands on Sept. 1.