Outfielder Jeff Francoeur could be a small piece in what could be an active trade deadline for the Phillies at the end of the month. Pitchers Cole Hamels, Jonathon Papelbon and outfielder Ben Revere could all be dealt, especially the latter two. Francoeur has had an above average campaign in his only year with the club, for his standards but should be shipped out if Philadelphia can receive an enticing bottom tier prospect.
He made the team out of spring training and has produced enough to remain on the worst team in baseball throughout the year. His numbers aren’t incredible, but they are close enough and just above league average to garner interest this trade deadline. With a few teams searching for outfielders following key injuries, the Phillies should look to move the 30-year-old outfielder if they can find a prospect that interests them.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals are two teams that could be vying for Francoeur’s services at the end of July. Pittsburgh’s interest has been reported since the injury of the versatile Josh Harrison and he could also platoon in right field with Gregory Polanco for the likely playoff inevitable Pirates.
After his game-winning two run homer in the ninth inning Sunday afternoon against Miami, the former Atlanta Brave improved his wRC+ to 101, just a tick above league average. He’s walked just 4% of the time and has struggled to consistently get on base, but provides a decent arm in right with limited range. Overall, Francoeur has posted a .257/.288/.449 slash line for a .737 OPS this season.
However, Francoeur doesn’t appear to be hoping for a trade like his teammate Jonathon Papelbon.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” he told NJ.com. “I’ve been traded before and I’ve not been traded. I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I hope it doesn’t end in two weeks.”
Here’s a look at some of the prospects the Phillies could target for Francoeur leading up to the trade deadline on July 1st.
Willy Garcia, OF: This 22-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder has reached AAA this season, but has struggled with pitch recognition and doesn’t look he will be a major league player because of that. However, if Pittsburgh is willing to move him for Francoeur the Phillies should definitely look to acquire a lottery ticket like Garcia.
He’s slashed .242/.265/.337 for a .602 OPS with Indianapolis in AAA after his promotion from AA Altoona. In 2014 Garcia showcased his power with Altoona with 18 homeruns and 27 doubles, but his inability to get on base has been his biggest issue at the plate. He has 118 walks to 581 strikeouts in his minor league career, along with a .307 on base percentage.
“High-ceiling power bat, also shows cannon arm with 35 outfield assists in the last two years. Poor strike zone judgment and contact issues likely to limit OBP/average against advanced pitching.” – Minor League Ball
Clay Holmes, RHP: He was drafted in the ninth round of the 2011 draft by Pittsburgh, but because of surgery has yet to reached AA. He’s rebounded nicely since his return this summer, posting a 1.54 ERA in 23.1 innings along with just 1.2 walks per nine innings. However, Pittsburgh likely won’t let him become potentially available in the Rule Five draft and might not be willing to give him up in a trade for a minimal trade piece at this point. He’s an arm that the Phillies could hope to find gold in and return to the majors as a backend starter.
Kansas City Royals
Sam Selman, LHP: Selman is a pitcher the Phillies should target mainly because he’s a lefty and you aren’t getting anything close to a sure thing in a Francoeur trade. Selman is a walk machine over his minor league career (5.4 walks per nine innings) and the Phillies should look to turn him into a lefty specialist. This season lefties have an OPS of .590 in 60 plate appearances while righties have posted an OPS of .783.
“He’s been similarly up-and-down in pro ball, but Kansas City has decided he fits best in the pen, where his fastball sits 90-94 and has been as high as 98 mph. His slider is above average, his curveball is solid average and his changeup is fringy, allowing him to pitch as late as the 8th inning and go multiple innings if he can improve his command one more notch in Triple-A this year.” – Fangraphs
Wander Franco: Although he doesn’t have a position, Franco has hit well in his brief minor league career as a 20-year-old and still has room to fill out his body as he develops. He’s worth taking a shot at acquiring, but I believe KC would be hesitant to move an international signing like him. He’s playing in Single A for the first time and has slashed .259/.301.395 thusfar, but has an .810 OPS over his past six games. He’s been dominant against lefties hitting from the right side as a switch hitter, collecting both of his homeruns this season along with a .907 OPS.
The Phillies aren’t going to get much beyond a far cry from a potential major league player for Francoeur, but they should take a look at a few lottery tickets who have some skills that are attractive. The trade deadline should surely heat up over the next week and Francoeur should surely be moved.