Daniel Bard’s struggles at Triple-A continued yesterday, as he blew a two-run save by allowing two hits and uncorking two wild pitches in the ninth inning.
Bard and the Red Sox continue to insist that they haven’t given up on him returning as a starter, but since a demotion to the minors he’s made one start followed by four straight relief appearances. And overall Bard has a 7.36 ERA in 7.1 innings for Pawtucket, although that comes with a strong 10/2 K/BB ratio to suggest he’s perhaps not pitching all that horribly.
Either way, he’s seemingly not close to rejoining the Red Sox and definitely not close to doing so as a starter.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.
Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.
Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.
Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.