Maikel Franco has had a disappointing first half of the 2017 season. (Frank Klose/SportsTalkPhilly)
Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco may not be untouchable in trade talks, but even in the midst of a very disappointing 2017 campaign, the Phillies don't seem eager to move on from the 24-year-old.
According to Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, general manager Matt Klentak is willing to listen on Franco, but would expect a fairly lofty trade return for his services:
As for other prospects who could come up in the near future, Scott Kingery remains a long shot — unless, of course, the Phillies trade Maikel Franco. He is available, but the price is high.
This comes after a June report from Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe indicated that Franco was 'more than available.' Salisbury's report suggests that Franco could be had in a trade, but only if the Phillies felt blown away by a trade offer.
Though Franco has occasionally reminded the Phillies why some felt he could be a key part of their long-term future, he's had a very disappointing 2017 season. Through the first 83 games, Franco is slashing .217/.274/.384 with 13 home runs and 45 RBIs. Though his home run and RBI numbers will probably look impressive at the end of the year, his slash line is perhaps most indicative of how much he's struggled this year. As mentioned, he has a .217/.274/.384 slash line through his first 318 at-bats of 2017. In 2015, Franco impressed in an 80-game, 304 at-bat stint with the Phillies, leading some to think he had star potential. Though he had 14 home runs and 50 RBIs in 2015, which is comparable to where he's at now, his slash line of .280/.343/.497 in 2015 gives you a pretty good idea of the differences between the similar sample sizes. (If that's not enough, FanGraphs says he's seen fairly drastic declines in his batting value, wOBA, wRC+ and other advanced metrics since 2015.)
From the perspective of potential suitors, it wouldn't make much sense to meet what appears to be a high asking price from the Phillies at this time. You would be buying high on someone that's demonstrated over the past two years that he may not be worth buying high on.
Franco still is just 24, remains under team control through 2021 and unquestionably has a high ceiling. While his floor may be fairly low, the Phillies aren't motivated to give Franco away right now. He's cheap and they are in the midst of a rebuild, so they can continue giving him at-bats and hope things begin to click. As my co-host Jack Fritz said on a recent edition of The 80-08 Podcast, trading Franco now would be a classic example of selling low.