Phillies Let Hernandez, Franco Become Free Agents
It's the end of an era for the Phillies. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco, both once key figures of the Phillies rebuild, will not be with the Phillies going forward. As the 8:00 p.m. deadline approached for teams to offer their players eligible for arbitration a concern, the Phillies declined to offer either Hernandez or Franco a contract.
The Phillies would have been responsible for as much as $17 million or more to carry both players going into 2020. The Phillies have many infield options, particularly at second base, where Scott Kingery could take the reigns. Or, if Kingery covers third base until Alec Bohm is ready, the Phillies could add a shortstop and play Jean Segura at second base.
Both players have value, but the going rate for arbitration-eligible players was too high for a team that has many holes to fill this offseason.
The Phillies figure to add two starting pitchers as well as multiple arms to their bullpen. Center field is an area the Phillies could decide to reinforce as well. In other words, with a shopping list that long, the Phillies could not risk paying for either player.
The Phillies tendered contracts to the remaining arbitration eligible players, including Vince Velasquez, Adam Morgan, Hector Neris, J.T. Realmuto, Jose Alvarez and Zach Eflin.
The Phillies and Andrew Knapp agreed to terms, the team announced. Knapp was also arbitration eligible.