Manny Machado could be the answer to the Phillies infield woes
The Phillies have long touted their financial flexibility as a positive throughout the rebuilding process, and now we're entering the phase where tough decisions exist up and down the roster.

For purposes of today's piece, let's focus just on the left side of the infield. Maikel Franco pieced together the best season of his career last season, yet he still didn't cement himself as an untouchable fixture in the Phillies lineup. His contributions equated to 0.2 WAR per Baseball Reference, a pedestrian figure for sure. His hot and cold spells at the plate were maddening for many, including some in the front office.

Franco is only 26-years-old, and he does show flashes at times of being an above average third baseman. That said, last season was touted as his year to shine through and that never really happened.

J.P. Crawford finds himself in a similar spot to Franco, though time appears to still be on his side. The 24-year-old missed 32 games with a strained right forearm and 69 with a broken left hand, essentially losing the entire 2018 season. In the 49 games he did play, he hit just .214 and didn't show much improvement from the year before when he also hit ... you guessed it, .214.

Manager Gabe Kapler was vocal last season in his support for Crawford and his belief that he'll be in the fold for the long term, but he now has some strikes against him with health issues and struggles to handle major league pitching.

This leaves super utility-man Scott Kingery. Late last year, Kapler mentioned he thinks Kingery - who came to the majors as a second baseman - is built to be a shortstop. He played quite a bit there and was strong defensively, but his bat was cause for serious concern. He hit .226 with a lowly 61 OPS+ in over 480 plate appearances.

The lack of production from all three is a major reason why the Phillies are sniffing around megastar Manny Machado. He can play both spots but resides mostly at the hot corner and is one of the best offensive options in all of baseball. If you look around online, you will find that the Phillies have the best odds on acquiring him. If the Phillies do sign him, expect the team's 2019 odds to change. There is tons of betting info available that tracks how the team's odds change from now till the start of next season so make sure to keep them bookmarked in case you want to try your luck.

So, what will it take?

You're looking at something near 10 years and $300 million, maybe $325 million. It's an insane amount of cash, but it'll net the Phillies a four-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove Award winner. A legitimate power threat that can also get on base.

In short, a significant upgrade to the left side of the infield when looking at the current roster.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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