Despite his big day in the Phillies' win Saturday afternoon (see story), Maikel Franco's future with the Phillies is uncertain. According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, we know there's at least one team interested in trading for him.
Rosenthal reports the Padres have interest in Franco but says there's one important condition that would need to be met before a trade could occur.
"For a deal to happen, the Phillies would need to acquire someone else to play short or third," Rosenthal notes.
That's because J.P. Crawford, who had been playing at third, is out with a fractured left hand. It appears that a combination of Franco, Jesmuel Valentin and recently acquired utility man Danny Espinosa will share the playing time at third for the time being.
Franco's role has recently diminished (see story), so you'd think the Phillies would probably be open to discussions with the Padres and any other interested parties, especially given their reported interest in Adrian Beltre.
As for what the Phillies would want from the Padres, Rosenthal reports, "The Phillies undoubtedly would add to Franco to get one of the Padres' top relievers, while the Padres would be gambling on Franco returning to form knowing he has three more years of control."
The Padres have several relievers who could interest the Phillies. Lefty closer Brad Hand has an NL-leading 21 saves in 24 opportunities, while veterans Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen are having strong seasons.
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A reinforcement is coming.
After recent injuries that sent infielders J.P. Crawford and Pedro Florimon to the disabled list with a fractured left hand and a fractured right foot, respectively, the Phillies have been looking for some temporary help for the big-league club.
Friday, the team agreed to terms with veteran infielder Danny Espinosa, who will report to Triple A Lehigh Valley in the coming days.
Espinosa, 31, has appeared in 872 career games over eight years in the majors, most notably with the Washington Nationals, with a career slash of .221/.297/.378. Espinosa started 2018 in Triple A in the Toronto Blue Jays' system before being released and signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers and being assigned to their Triple A team in Oklahoma City. He was released again on May 30 after hitting just .150 in 60 at-bats.
While the production at the plate has been underwhelming, especially this year, Espinosa is a quality defensive player who can play every position in the infield. He provides a veteran presence as a short-term fix and profiles better in that role than the next-best option, Mitch Walding, who struck out in each of his seven at-bats with the Phillies entering Friday.
Espinosa won’t be asked to do much, but if he can provide some relief for Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez and Scott Kingery, while hitting the odd home run and playing reliable defense, he will be a welcome quick-fix until the team regains its health.
In a corresponding move, LHP Zac Curtis was recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley. Curtis has a 3.38 ERA in four appearances this season with the Phillies.