According to sources, Maikel Franco has been offered a long-term contract by the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies’ young, breakout star and third baseman Maikel Franco was just recently offered a six-year deal worth $39 million, according to Hector Gomez of Z101 in the Dominican Republic.
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) March 21, 2016
Similar to the terms of Ryan Howard’s five-year, $125 million deal in 2010, but hopefully not as haunting come the sixth year, Franco’s offer solidifies himself as the future of the Phillies and as the player that the franchise hopes will bring the organization back to October baseball.
Last year Maikel Franco’s career took off. He quickly turned himself into the sole bright spot in the Phillies’ lineup, and really one of the only glimmers of excitement that the Phillies could have taken away from last season. Last year, in his official rookie season, Franco batted .280, batted in 50 runs, hit 14 longballs, and had an on-base percentage of .343. Maikel accumulated these totals while only playing in 80 games due to a late start and a precautionary season-ending injury.
So far this Spring Training Franco has been unstoppable at the plate. He leads the circuit in homeruns with seven, he tops all batters in RBIs with 18, and he is near the top of the league in batting with an average of .326.
While Franco has undoubtedly quickly showed his baseball finesse, Phillies fans are certainly wary of their General Manager doling out multiyear contracts due to past long-term contract horrors. Nonetheless, Phillies fans truly should be exhilarated by this six-year offer to Franco.
For one, Ruben Amaro Jr. is no longer behind the deals. While I was never anti-Amaro, admittedly it is safe to say that he was behind in the analytics game. In 2010 it was likely that Ruben offered Ryan Howard his long-term, $125 million deal based off merely intuition, heated emotions, and past statistics. Ruben would have never predicted that the first basemen would become an injury hazard and therefore lose his MVP prone bat. Contrary to Amaro, newly crowned President Andy MacPhail and General Manager Matt Klentak embrace analytics.
This past February, Klentak announced that he had been in the process of creating a custom-made sabermetrics system. The system, named PHIL, “is a place for the team to store and manipulate data, including scouting reports, medical information, basic statistics, and “refined, nuances statistical information,” according to Klentak.
With the arrival of sabermetrics in the Phillies’ clubhouse, it is unlikely that the executive office would have failed to run extensive data and medical analytical tests before sending a six-year contract Franco’s way.
Secondly, even if Franco slumps, becomes injured, or merely does not pan out to be the player that we or analytics think that he will turn out to be, the contract is minimal compared to past Phillies contract extensions.
The young third basemen will only be making $6.5 million a year compared to Howard’s $25 million and even Utley’s once $13.5 million a year.
Securing a long-term contract with the future face of the Philadelphia Phillies for a total of $39 million is by no means a gamble; it is a protective and precautionary successful acquisition. With this offered deal, it is evident that the Phillies management expects Franco to spearhead the organization back into the playoffs, and Phillies fans should be encouraged this thoughtful, first momentous move that the new management has brokered. Assuming he accepts this offer, Philadelphia should be overjoyed to watch Maikel Franco take the hot corner for six more years at Citizens Bank Park.