The last two Phillies trades have been with the team they’re trying to catch in the NL Wild Card race. Today, they sent reliever Ryan Franklin to the Reds for a player to be named later.
Considering the Phillies inconsistency on the field, one can only wonder if GM Pat Gillick has resorted to catching the front-running Reds by deceiving them into adopting our orphaned, napalm-laced relievers.
It’s hard to consider Franklin as anything more than a time bomb, waiting to explode during the critical moment of a decisive game, hopefully this weekend in Philadelphia.
Franklin, a 33-year-old right-hander, who once tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, was designated for assignment July 30 after going 1-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 46 relief appearances. He signed a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Phillies on Jan. 5, becoming the highest-priced pitcher added by the Phillies through 2006 free agency. The Reds will now pay the remainder of Franklin’s contract.
As expected, Franklin never fit in with the Phillies and their cozy confines, and is now headed to another bandbox in Great American. True to form, he surrendered an absurd number of game-killing home runs and gradually worked himself from critical late-game situations, to DFA limbo, to punchline for the early stages of the Pat Gillick era.
In every report you read, it says Franklin had trouble adjusting to his role in the bullpen. In Cincinnati, it appears he will be doing more of it, mainly in long relief.
I’m not up on my Reds headlines like I ought to be, but it appears this trade has a lot to do with their decision regarding Brandon Claussen, whose 30-day rehab assignment ends today. That means the club must make a roster move by tomorrow. Claussen has been even worse than Franklin this season. The club recently added Kyle Loshe to shore up its fifth starter spot, so it was looking like Claussen would be pushed to long relief when he returned from the DL. Since then, Claussen has been lit up in his two rehab starts, and now it looks like he’s out, Franklin is in.
It feels good knowing that the Phillies aren’t the only team making frequent voyages to the island of misfit pitchers. The Reds have been frequently using their map to this dreadful place, where stone idols of Todd Jones, Rick White and Ed Wade guard the inner sanctuary. Inside, there are tears.