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January 09, 2019

Live MLB free agency news, updates, rumors: Phillies see Mike Moustakas as Manny Machado back up plan

Report also says Phillies are ready to move on from Maikel Franco

The Phillies may be ready to move on from Maikel Franco.

If their relentless pursuit of Manny Machado wasn't evidence enough, a report that came out this week saying that the Phils are targeting Mike Moustakas as back up plan should they miss out on Machado — another sign they are ready for someone new at third base.

According to the report filed by Jon Morosi, they plan to trade Franco away should they land either of the veteran infielders.

The Phillies and White Sox are monitoring Moustakas' marketplace, sources say, and each club is interested in making him an offer if its preferred free-agent third baseman, Manny Machado, signs elsewhere.

It's easy for the Phillies and White Sox to remain in touch with Moustakas, since his agent -- Scott Boras -- also represents Bryce Harper, in whom both clubs have interest.

The White Sox know Moustakas well from his long tenure with the division-rival Royals, while Moustakas would address a need for left-handed power in the right-handed-dominant Philadelphia lineup. (In that way, Moustakas is an even better fit for the Phillies if they miss out on Harper, as well.)

The Phillies will attempt to trade Maikel Franco if they sign Moustakas or Machado. The Padres have been interested in Franco in the past. []

For those that think Moustakas is a marginal upgrade for Franco, or who think Franco is better, think again.

Though it would be correct to note that Franco is younger — 26 as opposed to 30 — and hits a little bit better for average, the advantages for Franco more or less end there.

  Franco Moustakas
Batting average (2018).270 .251
BA (Career).252 .251
HR (2018)2228
RBI (2018)6895
WAR (Career)  2.5 13.9
 Fielding percentage.954 .961 

As noted before, the Phillies are incredibly right-handed, so adding a lefty power bat, even if it's Moustakas instead of Machado, can be considered an upgrade.

Moustakas was rumored to be an option last season as the Phillies looked to be buyers at the trade deadline before falling off in the season's final two months. They obviously didn't make a move to acquire him as a rental. It appears he's a better fit as a free agent.

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