Jul. 29, 2017
Why The Pirates Should Trade For Maikel Franco
The Pittsburgh Pirates should trade for Philadelphia Phillies 3B Maikel Franco for a number of reasons especially with the recent injury of right fielder Gregory Polanco who is a large part of that lineup. Maikel Franco is having a down year with the average but but is a huge power threat that can help protect the middle of the order with Polanco out. Maikel Franco has been heating up in the recent weeks and the Pirates need a sort of young power threat in the infield. Franco has a very good glove over at third being one of the top position players in the NL. He carries a huge upside with a ton of power and with Pirates general manager Neil Huntingdon saying that Polanco will likely be out "weeks not months" the Pirates could use a young threat in the lineup. Now I have nothing against David Freese and I'm a huge an of his and know what type of player he can be and I hope he continues to pick up his career and help the lineup but he was signed to be a platoon player and with the thought to be everyday starter Jung Ho Kang likely spending another year in Korea, Franco can fill in that whole at third with big time pop that Kang brought and help fill the position. That would would also allow the Pirates to move Freese back into a platoon position. Now if you look at the third baseman's stats along with Polanco you'll see Freese has a better average than the Franco but Franco has more homeruns and RBIs than the two.
David Freese: .251 BA 7 HR 30 RBIs 34 yrs old
Gregory Polanco: .269 BA 9 HR 29 RBIs 25 yrs old
Maikel Franco: .229 BA 14 HR 52 RBIs 24 yrs old
David Freese may have a higher average than Franco but the 24 year old third baseman, Maikel Franco, has been hitting more homeruns and driving in more runs than both Freese and Polanco. Franco is also only 24 so he has a ton of upside and development to go and in recent history Matt Joyce came into Pittsburgh barely hitting and turned back into the bat he is supposed to be so Franco is still going to be great. Franco could also provide some protection to the middle of the order with the amount of power he has. Polanco has been hitting and when he comes back from his injury I have no doubt he'll be able to pick up where he left off but even when he comes back Franco and Polanco would deepen the lineup much more than it is right now. Also if the Pirates stay with the players they have right now and make it to the playoffs they lose another impact bat in Starling Marte as he is not postseason eligible so Franco can help cover that hole in the lineup as well. The lineup could sit McCutchen in the 3 hole, Bell in the 4th hole, and Franco betting 5th.
Andrew McCutchen: .292 BA 17 HR 57 RBI
Josh Bell: .248 BA 18 HR 54 RBI
Maikel Franco: .229 BA 14 HR 52 RBI
Maikel Franco could help protect McCutchen and Bell in this postseason run as teams may not pitch around Bell as they would see their is just as much power behind Bell. Now I know Franco has fewer RBIs and HRs than McCutchen and Bell but with 52 runs batted in he'd rank third on the team and with 14 homeruns that would be third as well. It also gives the Pirates 3 legitimate bats in the lineup with over 50 RBIs on the season and 3 bats with a season that have potential for 20 homeruns seasons. It also depends the lineup when Polanco comes back as he'll add 9 homeruns to the table and would help drive in runs with his recent success. Overall the trade for Franco may cost some prospects but as long as it doesn't cost Meadows it would be worth it. The Pirates can afford to give up Tyler Glasnow if needed even if he is the teams top RHP prospect. The Pirates have Mitch Keller coming up in a few years as well as Clay Holmes in the system. Overall the trade for Franco would tighten up some loose ends of the Pirates ball club and help give them a playoff push against the Cubs and Brewers.