We are back once again with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag.  Send your questions to the 97.3 ESPN text board at 609-403-0973 or send them to @FrankKlose on Twitter.  Each week on Tuesday afternoon we answer your questions on the air during the Sports Bash with Mike Gill.

I'm assuming the Phils are going to sell on Franco. What can he bring back to the organization?

Indeed, I think the relationship between the Phillies and third baseman Maikel Franco is getting ready to end.  After losing third base to the Scott Kingery / J.P. Crawford left side of the infield tandem, Franco looked like he might get one last chance.  Instead, the Phillies are giving starts to rookie Jesmuel Valentin.

Franco is a prime candidate to be moved sooner than later.  Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic is reporting that Orioles shortstop Manny Machado may be moved "sooner or later" and mentions the Phillies as a possible landing spot.  The Phillies were reportedly engaged in talks with the Royals about Mike Moustakas, too.

I think that the Phillies are going to make a trade for someone to play the left side of the infield.  If that happens, I would not be shocked if Franco goes back in such a deal to help the other team fill a need which would be created by the trade.  The real value if such a trade would probably be the other players.

There are some teams (such as the Kansas City Royals) who would give Franco a shot if they're trading away an asset to the Phillies.  I doubt, however, that Franco has much value.  I'm not sure the "sell" will bring much in return.

How will the Phillies replace Vince Velasquez in the starting rotation?  A lot of games are coming up.

After Vince Velasquez took a hard-hit liner on his forearm, he made a remarkable play with his left hand to get the Phillies out of trouble. But afterwards he ended up on the ground in pain.  After the game, we got the news that his injury was not all that serious.  From the sounds of things, Velasquez will not be gone much longer than the 10-day disabled list stint requires.

The Phillies are lucky to have had yesterday (July 2) off along with Thursday, July 5.  That means that Zach Eflin will pitch tonight and Aaron Nola tomorrow. Nick Pivetta gets the ball Friday, even after making an appearance Monday.  Jake Arrieta will start Saturday.  Eflin will be on full rest to start on Sunday, and Nola to start on Monday.

But Monday is a double-header.  They will need a second starter for that day, though the rules allow a 26th player for that day.. I would expect someone like Ben Lively to make one of Monday's starts.  After that, they may have to pitch a bullpen game, with Mark Leiter, Jr. and Jake Thompson throwing some innings, because Pivetta would not have enough rest to start on Tuesday of next week.

I do not think the Phillies will go to Cole Irvin or Enyel De Los Santos for a spot start just yet.  Neither player is on the 40-man roster and they might not want to make a roster move just yet.  Drew Anderson is on the roster and could give them some innings before Velasquez is activated on July 11 (Wednesday) if all goes well.

Halfway mark 44 wins = 88! What moves are we making Frank!!!???

I think that the recent play has shown that the Phillies should make a move.  The Phillies just wrapped up what might be the toughest 42-game stretch of the season.  With a 21-21 record, the Phillies showed that they are to be taken seriously.  The expectation is that the Phillies can start to take some games from the upcoming lesser teams such as the Mets and Orioles, and if they do, the Phillies will have to make a move or two in order to increase their chances.

However, the Phillies still appear to be reluctant to trade any prospects for players they can simply re-sign later. Earlier today, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com called the Phillies "longshots" to acquire Manny Machado at the trade deadline for this reason. But lesser players like Mike Moustakas might be more reasonably-priced.

i would expect that the Phillies add a third baseman or shortstop of some sort and perhaps add a reliever, if they can find room in their bullpen.  Last week Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic said that there are a "glut" of relievers available, so it might be easy enough for the Phillies to acquire one of them.

I am not sure that the Phillies are necessarily poised to add a starting pitcher right now.  A lot will depend on just how much they would have to give up for someone, preferably from the left side.  But Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ will have plenty of interest from teams ahead of the Phillies.

However, Jon Heyman of Fancred sports says there has been some "chatter" around a Hamels reunion, and that the New York Yankees are very interested in Happ.

This does not have the feel of a "go for broke"-atype deadline.  But the Phillies will be active once again, in the way they were in 2006 and acquired Jeff Conine, Jamie Moyer and Jose Hernandez.


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