Jeanmar Gomez‘s struggles continued on Sunday against the Nationals, serving up a game-tying three-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman. After the game, which the Phillies won, manager Pete Mackanin said he was considering taking Gomez out of the closer’s role, but would have a conversation with him on Monday.
After that conversation, Gomez is officially out and Joaquin Benoit is in, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports.
Benoit, 39, has pitched three scoreless innings on a hit and a walk with four strikeouts to open the season. He has closing experience, racking up 51 career saves including 24 in 2013 with the Tigers and 11 in 2014 with the Padres.
The Phillies were also considering 27-year-old Hector Neris along with Benoit, but he will be eligible for arbitration between 2019-21. Since save totals are taken into consideration by arbitrators, the team was likely trying to depress his future earnings by keeping him out of the closer’s role.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.
Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.
Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.
Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.
It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.
Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.